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About the Initiative

Background 

Pakistan currently has the largest generation of young people ever in its history, with about two-thirds of the total population under 30 years of age. This youth bulge has the potential to transform the country’s future if provided with equal employment opportunities. Owing to a lack of employment opportunities and economic disparity, the youth face socio-economic obstacles, which can lead them to go astray, to solve this issue that National Human Development Report of 2017 suggested working on the three Es: Education, gainful Employment and meaningful Engagement..

The Youth Empowerment Programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is a targeted response to this challenge, through the three Es. Through the implementation of the programme, UNDP seeks to work with the Government of Pakistan as well as directly with excluded youth and other key stakeholders to ensure that ‘equal opportunities exist for all youth to participate in Pakistan’s social, political and economic development processes so that all youth feel an empowered part of society with a stage in its future’. The underlying objective of the Youth Empowerment Programme is to help vulnerable youth from marginalized areas in developing employable skill sets to become self-sufficient as well as self-reliant. 

UNDP has a successful history of working with the private sector across Pakistan. It provides a cross-sectoral employment advisory, necessary guidance, and technical assistance to business organizations to help them impart skill training to youth. Since 2015, UNDP has empowered over 15,000 youth with lifelong employability skills and capabilities to make them economically independent and socially productive. 

Introduction

It has been found that low-skilled youth, women, transgender people, persons with disabilities, religious minorities and other excluded groups are mostly underrepresented in the private sector. Diversity and inclusion are central to achieving a range of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly on reducing inequality, promoting gender equality, ensuring full access to equal employment opportunity with decent working conditions and sustainable economic growth. Private companies that invest in minority inclusion fare well as they make the most of a diversified workforce. Saxena (2014) states that there is a direct link between workplace diversity and increased productivity, if diversity in the workplace is managed well ( Saxena, A. (2014). Workforce Diversity: A Key to Improve Productivity. Procedia Economics and Finance, 11, 76–85. ).

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched the Leading Diversity Initiative (LDI) to promote CEOs/ ‘Diversity Leaders’ who encourage workplace diversity and regularly introduce inclusion programmes in their organizations. It is an initiative that recognizes and promotes the work Pakistani businesses are already doing to diversify their workforce by employing women, low-skilled youth and persons with disabilities among other excluded groups . Leading Diversity comprises of business organizations with a proven track record of diversity policies and practices at work. They are the ‘Diversity Champions.’  While these businesses “Lead”, other  businesses who are inspired to learn about and become more inclusive, are invited to join and become part of this membership. 

It aims to remain a voluntary initiative that businesses join without being mandated by any third party. LDI under UNDP provides a platform of mutual interest to both parties. UNDP is committed to encouraging local businesses to become more inclusive to achieve a sustainable growth rate and a prosperous future. In return, businesses reach and reap ethical and economic benefits. 

LDI promotes responsible businesses which in return enhances their brand in the eyes of buyers, investors, government, and stakeholders. It projects the business’s CEO as a thought leader in the industry and adds visibility and credibility to their marketing, CSR, and HR activities.

The following objectives are part of LDI’s mandate

  • To recognize and promote businesses that have pioneered initiatives to include diversity in their workforce.
  • To encourage a diverse and inclusive culture in workplace– regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or how differently-abled an individual is.  . 
  • To project diversity as an organizational strength as well as a workable catalyst to more creativity and innovation in the workplace.

Why Partner with LDI?

  • LDI is a voluntary initiative, providing a platform of mutual interest to businesses and UNDP. UNDP is committed to encouraging local businesses to become more inclusive to achieve a sustainable growth rate and a prosperous future. In return, businesses will reach and reap ethical and economic benefits.
  • Brands that associate themselves with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) improve their image in the eyes of the investors, stakeholders and end-users – the customers.
  • Your CEO will be projected as a ‘Diversity Champion’ in the industry across Pakistan and globally. The CEO will be interviewed by Newsweek Pakistan, a premium publication targeting major influencers in the country. This will project your CEO as a responsible leader with a unique vision. Your CEO will also be invited to speak with other member CEOs at events on the value of investing in diversity and their personal experiences of leading change. It will add visibility and credibility to your own marketing, CSR, and HR activities.UNDP Pakistan has partnered with over 30 CSR-focused private companies . Most companies belong to textile, retail and construction sectors.

    These companies are eco-friendly, supply their products to renowned international brands and serve as a role model for the rest of the industry to emulate.

Our Vision

Leading Diversity believes in highlighting the work of progressive businesses, pioneering initiatives to include women, low-skilled youth, persons with disabilities and other excluded groups. The primary focus is to make such stories public to pave the way for a more inclusive future of work.

Provide visibility and recognition to business organizations with a proven track record of diversity policies and practices at work

Encourage the private sector to commit and adopt diversity and inclusion strategy as its core business value

Kamyab Jawaan Program

Leading Diversity believes in highlighting the work of progressive businesses, pioneering initiatives to include women, low-skilled youth, persons with disabilities and other excluded groups. The primary focus is to make such stories public to pave the way for a more inclusive future of work.Provide visibility and recognition to business organizations with a proven track record of diversity policies and practices at work.Encourage the private sector to commit and adopt diversity and inclusion strategy as its core business value