SPO is a non-government not for profit company registered on January 15, 1994, and set up under a license from SECP under section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984 (now Companies Act 2017). It is governed by a 14 member Board comprising 13 elected directors and the chief executive. The Board is elected for a three-year term from a General Body with equal representation from all four provinces of Pakistan and reserved seats for the Federal Capital Territory.
The General Body is the owner of the Company under the law responsible for providing guidance to SPO in its programme, governance and legal affairs. It has 36 members who give their time on a voluntary basis. Members come from a wide range of professions related to social development and are carefully identified to ensure gender balance and equal representation from all four provinces.
The Board of Directors is the governing and policymaking body of the organization. As the governing body, the BoD is ultimately responsible and accountable for the programme direction, financial and strategic management of the organization. The Board approves strategies and operational plans, and directs the institutional and organizational development of SPO. The Board consists of 14 members who remain in office for a period of three years. The 13 Members become Directors of the Board through elections from the General Body whilst the 14th Member, who is the CE, is appointed by the Board. The SPO Board has been constituted in such a manner so as to ensure a balance in its membership both in terms of gender and provincial representation. The Board also elects a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson for the same term.
FEDERAL CAPITAL TERITORY – ISLAMABAD:
i) Farhat Ali Sheikh
ii) Samina Khan
iii) Abdul Qadir
i) Muhammad Rafiq
ii) Tufail Mohammad Khan
iii) Ms. Rukhshanda Naz
(Human Rights Activist / Lawyer)
iv) Advocate Parveen Akhtar
(Family Law Specialist / Lawyer)
v) Shabnam Nawaz
(Lawyer / Lecturer)
i) Syed Abid Rizvi
ii) Parveen Ghauri
iii) Sister Naseem George
iv) Anjum Zia
v) Mahnaz Fareed Sheikh
i) Javed Jabbar
(Writer, Former Senator)
ii) Sadiqa Salahuddin
iii) Advocate Kalpana Devi
iv) Favad Soomro
v) Sibtain Naqvi
vi) Naseer Memon
i) Zeenat Yaqoub Yousafzai
ii) Mohammad Amin
iii) Dr. Taj Baloch
(Health Sector Professional)
iv) Faiza Mir
v) Shazia Akhtar
vi) Ayesha Samad Dogar
Senator(r) Javed Jabbar is one of the co-founders who led the transition of the Small Projects Office into a new entity called the Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) and currently serves as SPO’s Chairperson.
Mr. Jabbar has served in 3 Federal Cabinets with portfolios for Information & Broadcasting, Science & Technology, Petroleum & Natural Resources and as Adviser to the CE of Pakistan on National Affairs. From 2015 to 2018, he served as a former Senator-Member of the Senate Forum for Policy Research the first Parliamentary think-tank of Pakistan. As part of his voluntary work, he currently serves as Chairman of the Social Policy & Development Centre, Karachi (also co-founded 1995) which is one of Asia's leading think-tanks. Mr. Jabbar is also co-founder/Chairman of the of SOS Children's Villages in Sindh and a Member of the SOS National Board of Governors. He is the founding President of Baanhn Beli, established in 1985, the pioneer public service organization since 1985 in the arid Tharparkar region of Sindh.
In February 2020, the All Pakistan Newspapers' Society presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In December 2019, the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations inducted him into its Hall of Fame for his distinctive international contributions.
In 2010, the Supreme Court appointed him as a mediator to successfully resolve conflicts within the media sector and in 2013 the sole member of the Media Commission chaired by Justice(r) Nasir Aslam Zahid. Mr. Jabbar wrote the Report of the Commission.
His 15th book, “Pathways – selected writings" won the UBL Literature Prize for the Best English Non-Fiction Book at the 9th Karachi Literature Festival, March 2018. His 16th book titled “What is Pakistaniat?" was published in 2019 in both English and Urdu and is prescribed in the curriculum of reputed nationwide education and training institutions. Details at www.javedjabbar.net.
Ms. Mahnaz Fareed Sheikh is the founder of SOS Children’s Village Multan projects, which houses 200 orphaned children and educated 2000 beneficiaries. She has led the project from the initiation and construction of the buildings to its successful operations during the last 20 years. In these last two decades, she has initiated many SOS projects such as SOS Hermann Gmeiner Higher Secondary School Multan, SOS Youth Home Multan, SOS Multan Institute of Technology and SMIT Women Empowerment Stitching Unit. She has executed social integration and fundraising campaigns and raised funds annually.
Amongst her social impact services, she serves as the Executive Vice President SOS Villages of Pakistan. She is an advocate of child rights in the SOS projects in Pakistan. She is the author of Handbook on Project Management Guidelines which has been implemented at all SOS projects nation-wide. She serves as an Honorary Member of the Syndicate Nishter University Hospital, Multan, safeguarding policies of a public service hospital university.
Ms. Mahnaz is the Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Strengthening Participatory Organization, strengthening and supporting community organizations and public interest institutions of Pakistan for the benefit of underprivileged sections of society for sustainable development.
Prof. Tufail Muhammad Khan is a pediatrician by profession. He is a teacher, knowledge developer, and a passionate voice for children at home and internationally. He is the definition of someone who has a life time career devoted to child rights and has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) and Child protection. Currently he is President ISPCAN and Chairperson of the Child Rights & Protection Committee, Pakistan Pediatric Association. He is serving on the Executive Committee of the College of Family Medicine Peshawar, the TB Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Diabetes Association KP, and Fatimid Foundation Pakistan.
He has more than 30 research papers to his credit and has presented more than 80 papers at international conferences in several countries around the world. He has also conducted and published a number of community based research studies on issues around child rights and CAN in collaboration with UNICEF, Save the Children, WHO, ILO and ECPAT International. He has contributed several book chapters and also authored a book on the growth and development of Pakistani children. He served on the Board of ECPAT International for 6 years. In recognition of his leadership in the field of child protection, Dr. Tufail has twice received the Meritorious Services Award from the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan. Dr. Tufail is also President of the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) since 2018 and has served it in different positions in the past. He is also Board Member of the “Global Partnership to end violence against children”.
Ms. Sadiqa Salahuddin is recognised as one of the leading development professionals in Pakistan and a prominent contributor to the enhancement of civil society. Her early
experience as a management trainer for senior government officials became the foundation for capacity-building initiatives across the civil society spectrum. Her insight of government systems, combined with hands-on experience of capacity-building at the grassroots level, increased the effectiveness of NGO-government collaboration.
Ms. Salahuddin has represented Pakistan’s civil society in several international forums and has participated in numerous national and international conferences.
She serves on the governing boards of several important government and civil society initiatives, and on a number of task forces, working groups and Steering Committees particularly on women’s empowerment, poverty reduction, and education.
Ms. Salahuddin is the Founder and Executive Director of the Indus Resource Centre (IRC), an NGO that is recognised as an important stakeholder of education in Sindh, particularly for its contribution in the promotion of girls’ education in rural Sindh. Ms. Salahuddin is one of the founding Members of the Board of Directors and for two three- year terms served as the Chairperson of SPO (Strengthening Participatory Organization) a leading Pakistani rights-based civil society organization having countrywide presence outreach and support from 3500 partner entities dealing with matters related to human rights, democracy and good governance, justice, peace and harmony, and strengthening of public institutions; both, at policy as well as implementation levels.
Ms. Salahuddin has remained a Member of the Board of Directors of CIVICUS for two terms, Micro-finance Bank (Khushhali Bank), LEAD Pakistan, Aga Khan rural Support Programme, and Teachers Resource Centre; Member Board of Governors of Sindh Teachers’ Development Authority (STEDA); and Member General Body of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.”
Syed Abid Rizvi is one of Pakistan’s most respected broadcasters. Completing his formal education with a MA in Urdu Literature from the University of Balochistan in 1962, he joined Radio Pakistan as a Producer. He served as a Senior Producer and Station Director at Quetta’s broadcasting network. He retired in 1998 yet was invited to serve as the Advisor on Programmes at Radio Pakistan’s Quetta station from 1998 to 2005. He is former Chairperson of Taraqi Foundation Baluchistan. He also served as Chairperson of Water Environment & Sanitation Society (WESS) Quetta and Chairman Organization for Social Development (OSD) Baluchistan. He was Focal Person from Baluchistan in Pani Pakistan. He was Founder Board member of Institute of Development Studies Pakistan (IDSP).
International recognition of his pioneering work in Radio broadcasting came in the form of the First Prize for the Best Radio Programme on “Rural education” in 1995 presented to him by UNICEF in Pakistan. He also awarded First Prize by the Asian Broadcasting Union in 1981 for his programme titled: “The mountain and the child” in the ABU International Radio Programme Competition.
Mr. Rizvi has served as a Master Trainer in IUCN broadcasting workshops and has actively contributed to over 200 workshops, training processes and seminars on community development, education, culture, and community radio.
Highly-respected in the literary and cultural circles in Balochistan, Syed Abid Rizvi served as an Honorary Secretary of the prestigious literary organization known as: “Qalam Qabeela” in Quetta during which he organized several major conferences on literature and culture.
Mr. Rizvi authored two books in Urdu titled: “Gul Zamen”, a critical appreciation of Pushto, Balochi and Brahvi poetry of Balochistan and “Mumta hi Mumta”. His third book is in English. “Meet our friend JJ". It's an anthology about renowned Scholar Mr. Javed Jabbar.
Mr. Abid Rizvi is the senior most member of SPO Board of Directors. He was honoured with a life time achievement award by the President of Pakistan at the Silver Jubilee of SPO in 2019.
Ms. Zeenat Yaqoob Yousafzai is the founder and Principal of the Model Public School/College. In voluntary capacity, she is associated as the Vice Chairperson SPO Board of Directors, Member Board of Directors of Taraqee Foundation, Member-Executive Committee Business & Professional Women's Foundation Quetta Chapter and Member Chiltan Lions Club, Quetta.
Ms. Zeenat has served as Member on various educational committees and advisory boards, Member Balochistan Education Foundation and Chairperson all Balochistan Private Schools Welfare Society.
Ms. Zeenat has done L.L.B. and M. Phil. in Education.
Ms. Zeenat Yaqoob has also visited USA as an international visitor to study and observe the American rural education system.
Ms. Parveen Akhtar is a legal advocate by profession and has practised law for the past 35 years during which she also served in the High Court and its subordinate Courts.
Ms. Parveen has been worked with the Free Legal Aid PAWLA (Pakistan) and is also an active member of the Provincial Bar Council of KPK till 2014.
Ms. Parveen is a Member of SPO’s Board of Directors and has also served as Member on the Board of Directors for the Social Development Enterprise, subsidiary of SPO.
In addition, Ms. Parveen has been associated with the Cantonment Board, Peshawar as a member for 10 years and the Vice President for 1998-99. She has also served as the General Secretary of the Peshawar Bar Association.
Dr. Taj Baloch is a MCPS in Psychiatry and has been practicing psychiatry for the past 31 years. Dr. Taj is presently associated with the Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zaid Hospital in Quetta as the Executive Director.
Dr. Taj’s extensive profile includes having been a member of the National Council F.P.A.P, Ex-Secretary General Pakistan Psychiatric Society, Executive Member H.R.C.P, Secretary Tawana Pakistan Program Girl Primary School District Gwadar, Central Councillor, of the Pakistan Medical Association, and Patron in Chief for KUMAK Trust for Promotion of Health, Education, Culture and Environment in Districts Kech and Gwadar.
Dr. Taj is a member on SPO’s Board of Directors and is also a lifetime member of the Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Survival in Denmark.
In addition, Dr. Taj Baloch has conducted research work on “Culture Bound Syndrome” among the Baloch’s of southern Balochistan, a baseline survey on gender role and relations in southern Balochistan and a study on the role of the family in treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependent persons in Makran.
Mr. Mohammad Rafiq is an environmental expert and studied agriculture with post graduate qualifications in forestry. He specializes in strategic planning, organizational change and development, community forestry, sustainable development, poverty alleviation, sustainability assurance and certification systems, and environmental impact assessment.
Mr. Rafiq has worked in the Government of Pakistan, International Union for Conservation of Nature (Switzerland), Rainforest Alliance (USA), Zeitz Foundation (Germany and Kenya). He has also been consulting internationally for various other organizations including the UN agencies.
Mr. Rafiq’s interests include creating new conservation organizations and building existing ones to enhance institutional capacity for environment around the world. Mr. Rafiq founded two environmental consulting companies located in the UK and Pakistan.
Mr. Rafiq has voluntarily served as Director, Advisor and member of various sustainable development organizations across the world. He has also authored or co-authored numerous reports, strategies and publications on the issues of sustainable development, environmental governance, and business and biodiversity.
Favad Soomro is the head of Engro Foundation and has over 20 years of experience in the corporate and CSR sectors. He joined Engro Fertilizer in 1999 as a Distribution Officer in the Marketing Department. Since then has worked in Public Affairs, CSR and has also served as Market Development Advisor in Engro Polymer. He became Executive Director of Engro Foundation in 2012 and has overseen all the CSR activities of 7 Engro companies.
Favad Soomro has extensive experience in water irrigation, agricultural programs and environmental conservation programs. He has managed large teams and implemented multi-million dollar development programs with various donor agencies. He has done his MBA from the Institution of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi.
Favad serves on various advisory committees within the larger civil society, including being a founding member of Society for I am Karachi, a member of the Board of Directors at Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO). He was also the General Secretary of the Sahara Welfare Society in the past.
Ms. Faiza Mir is a Lecturer by profession and currently teaching at the Department of International Relations, University of Balochistan, Quetta.
Ms. Faiza has previously served as the visiting faculty at the Department of Gender Development Studies & Computer Sciences and Information Technology, University of Balochistan, Quetta and Command and Staff College Quetta Cantt for their Annual Research Syndicates. She has been associated as the research analyst with the Ministry of Women Development and Social Welfare, Govt. of Pakistan from 2002-2005 in the Women Political School (WPS) project formally known as Women Political Participation Project (W3P).
In addition, Ms. Faiza has served as the Resource Person for BEAJ, IDSP and UNICEF Balochistan on “Protection of Child Rights”, “Human Rights Education” and “Child Protection and Protective Environment & CRC” and “Juvenile Justice System” respectively, and the Executive Member of Pakistan Sociological Association (PSA).
Presently, Ms. Faiza is a Member of the Board of Directors of Strengthening Participatory Organization.
Dr. Anjum Zia is the Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Mass Communication, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore. In a voluntary capacity, she is associated as the Member SPO Board of Directors.
Dr. Anjum has 27 years of teaching experience including 22 years of administrative experience as Head of the Department. She also worked as a Research Officer at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and as Sub-Editor in Daily ‘The Nation’.
Dr. Zia is also serving as the Member, Board of Studies of various institutions including, Government College University Lahore and Beacon House University Lahore; Member, National Curriculum Revision Committee, of Mass Communication, Higher Education Commission; Member, Advisory Committee of Academia to assist the Press Council of Pakistan on the issues relating to the Media Ethics; Founder Member/Secretary Citizen Media Commission and Member Editorial Board and Reviewer of Research Journals.
In recognition of her contributions in the field of Education, Dr. Anjum has received Best University Teacher Award from the HEC, Frogh-e-Taleem Gold Medal Award from Idara Frogh-e-Taleem, Punjab, excellent Performance Gold Medal from Azeem Ara Foundation, and Journalism Fourth Estate Award from the Institute of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab Lahore.
Ms. Arifa Mazhar is presently serving as the Chief Executive of SPO. She is the first woman Chief Executive who has assumed responsibilities in October 2019.
Ms. Mazhar has a long and distinguished association with SPO as a volunteer-Member who has previously served as the Co-Vice Chairperson and Member of the Board of Directors of SPO for more than a decade and held an elected position as Chairperson of Social Enterprise Development, SPO’s subsidiary for two years.
Ms. Mazhar has an overall twenty-six years of multi-sectoral experience in a social sector development and policy advocacy with the specific focus on rights-based development, gender and women’s rights.
Ms. Mazhar has an extensive experience in the development sector at the grass-roots level through her laudable work at other reputed organizations and started her career with Sungi Development Foundation in 1994 as a Field Coordinator and served for nineteen years in various capacities. She severed Potohar Organization for Development and Advocacy (PODA) as an Executive Director. Ms. Mazhar also has been associated with Rozan and Group Development Pakistan as Director Programmes.
Ms. Mazhar has actively campaigned for the empowerment of the disadvantaged and marginalized communities with particular focus on equity and justice for children and women. In her voluntary capacity, she has served as an elected Co-Chair of Ending Violence Against Women and Girls EVAWG Alliance for three consecutive terms (2007-2012). She has also served as Co-Convenor of Women Action Forum and is a member of Islamabad chapter. She is representing National Humanitarian Network NHN as member in Central Executive Committee Member Federal Capital.
Ms. Mazhar at various stages has also remained an active member of the following networks: Child Rights Movement, WTO watch Group, Sustainable Agriculture Action Group (SAAG), Joint Action Committee, Coalition of Rawalpindi & Islamabad NGOs (CORIN) Mubariza (National Network for Gender Justice).
Ms. Mazhar has served as Member Board of Governors of Economic Justice and Development, National Peasant Coalition of Pakistan, Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy and Aizaan Foundation.