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U.S. and Facebook recognize Pakistani women entrepreneurs on Women’s Day

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ISLAMABAD: The United States Mission to Pakistan, in partnership with Facebook, celebrated International Women’s Day 2021 by recognizing the achievements of Pakistani women entrepreneurs who received #SheMeansBusiness training through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Small and Medium Enterprise Activity.

To date, USAID has provided training for 433 Pakistani women-owned micro, small, and medium enterprises under this initiative.

The #SheMeansBusiness training initiative helps women-led businesses in Pakistan and around the world utilize social media platforms, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, to boost their online presence and sales. Through the USAID-Facebook partnership, Facebook Certified Trainers provide free online marketing training and support to women-led businesses that are struggling to market themselves to the right target audience.

“Women entrepreneurs in Pakistan and across the globe are triggering disruptions in the digital ecosystem and making tremendous strides to transform their innovative ideas into practical and profitable businesses and solutions,” said USAID Mission Director Julie Koenen. “I would like to thank Facebook for its efforts in supporting women entrepreneurs not just in Pakistan but across the globe. We look forward to expanding and building upon this collaboration.”

“Women in Pakistan are extremely talented and have the potential to achieve great success; something we have observed over the years and continue to invest in,” said Beth Ann Lim, Director of Facebook’s Asia Pacific Policy Programs and Government Outreach. “Through the expansion of our #SheMeansBusiness program in Pakistan, we have designed trainings that will aid in the promotion of micro/small businesses being led by women – especially by those who are based in the rural areas.”

During the event, women entrepreneurs who participated in the initiative shared how the training has helped them expand their businesses using online platforms.

“I am extremely grateful to USAID for enrolling me in this highly effective and engaging workshop,” said Saira Jahan, owner of Moksha Resorts in Gilgit Baltistan. “Before this, I checked audience insights only to monitor engagement, but after these sessions, I use these tools to influence my strategy to identify target audiences, tourist trends, etc. The trainer made everything very easy to comprehend. Great initiative!”

USEFP announces 2022 Fulbright Master’s and PhD Program: The USEFP announced the opening of the 2022 Fulbright Student competition. The prestigious Fulbright Program is the flagship academic scholarship program of the U.S. Department of State and is offered in 160 countries. Since 2005, Pakistan’s Fulbright Program is the world’s largest in terms of financial contribution from the U.S. Government.

The Government of Pakistan, through the Higher Education Commission (HEC), has also provided generous support. Every year approximately 100 Pakistanis begin master’s programs, and another 50 begin PhD studies on Fulbright scholarships at leading U.S. universities.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright program, which has been operating in Pakistan for 71 years. The Pakistan Fulbright Student Program fully funds graduate degree study, including tuition, maintenance, insurance, and air travel.  On completing their degrees, returning Fulbright participants contribute to Pakistan’s development and growth by teaching at Pakistani universities, or otherwise engaging in important civic and government service.

The scholarship is merit-based, but merit is defined broadly and not restricted to grades and test scores. The application form is available online at www.usefp.org, and the application deadline is June 09, 2021. This year the Graduate Record Examination (GRE General) will be required of all applicants, and the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) requirement set for last year has been removed.

USEFP especially welcomes applicants in the disciplines of energy, water, agriculture, public health, education, social sciences, journalism, mass communication, arts and culture management, urban and regional planning, environmental science, security and peace studies, and data science. Please note that clinical medicine is not included in the Fulbright program.

“The U.S. government is very proud of its long partnership with Pakistan in promoting higher education for its citizens, and the Fulbright program is a highlight of this partnership,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’affaires Angela P. Aggeler. “In particular, it is very important to us that Fulbright students represent the rich diversity of Pakistan. For this reason, we strongly encourage women, people with disabilities, and students from rural and underrepresented areas to apply.”

“I would like to encourage anyone who is eligible and interested in graduate education to consider applying to the prestigious Fulbright Program. Fulbrighters come from all regions of Pakistan. The 2021 cohort was drawn from 38 different universities. Among successful applicants, some are fresh graduates, others are working professionals, and in recent years more than half are women,” said USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar.

USEFP is a bi-national commission established in 1950 by the governments of the United States and Pakistan. Since its inception, more than 9,000 Pakistanis and over 935 Americans have participated in USEFP-managed exchange programs. Its mission is to promote mutual understanding between the people of Pakistan and the United States through exchange programs. ‑‑PR

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