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From Classrooms to Communities: Karachi University’s Women-Led Climate Action Movement

From Classrooms to Communities: Karachi University’s Women-Led Climate Action Movement

From Classrooms to Communities: Karachi University’s Women-Led Climate Action Movement

From Classrooms to Communities: Karachi University’s Women-Led Climate Action Movement

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In a remarkable demonstration of student-led initiative, the female students of the Women Studies Department at the University of Karachi have taken a proactive step in addressing the critical issue of climate change.

Under the guidance of their coordinator, Dr. Aliyah Bilgrami, these young leaders have embarked on a mission to educate and empower communities across the city.

“Our vision is to integrate climate change education across all departments, not just in Women Studies,” explains Dr. Bilgrami. “We understand that the impacts of climate change are deeply intertwined with issues of gender, class, and socioeconomic status. By adopting an intersectional approach, we can ensure that the most marginalized communities receive the support they need to build resilience.”

Divided into groups, the students have taken their assignment to the next level. One group, led by Syeda Zehra, ventured into the city’s slums, where they engaged with women and children, educating them about the effects of climate change and the practical steps they can take to mitigate its impact. “It was surprising to see that most of the women were not even aware of climate change and its effects,” Zehra noted. “So, we tailored our education efforts to their level of understanding, empowering them with the necessary knowledge.”

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The other group, led by Aliza Ejaz , visited local schools, sharing their knowledge with the next generation of climate champions. “We wanted to ensure that students of all ages understand the urgency of climate action and the crucial role they can play in creating a more sustainable future,” Ansari explained. “By reaching out to young people, we can inspire them to become agents of change, advocating for climate-smart policies and sustainable practices in their communities.”

Dr. Bilgrami firmly believes that empowering women and girls is crucial for building climate resilience. “Women are often the first responders and caretakers in their communities during times of environmental crisis. They are also disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change, as they are more likely to live in poverty, have limited access to resources, and face societal barriers to participating in decision-making processes. By educating them about climate change and equipping them with the necessary knowledge and resources, we can empower them to lead the charge in building a more sustainable future.”

To expand this initiative to other departments within the University of Karachi, Dr. Bilgrami and her team are actively reaching out to their counterparts across the institution. “We believe that by sharing our experiences and best practices, we can inspire and empower our colleagues in other disciplines to incorporate climate change education into their curriculum,” says Dr. Bilgrami.

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To further strengthen the university’s commitment to climate education, Dr. Bilgrami suggests the establishment of an interdepartmental committee on climate change and sustainability. “By bringing together experts and stakeholders from various disciplines, including environmental science, urban planning, public health, and economics, we can develop a comprehensive and inclusive approach to addressing the pressing issues of our time. This committee should prioritize the perspectives of marginalized communities, ensuring that the needs of women, minorities, and the economically disadvantaged are at the forefront of our climate action strategies.”

The potential for this initiative to transform the landscape of climate education at the University of Karachi is immense. By fostering an interdisciplinary, intersectional approach to climate change, the university is poised to empower a new generation of climate leaders who will shape a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

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Empowering Women, Building Climate Resilience: Pakistan’s Path Forward
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