Program Profile of Umeed

Umeed (PU) in Urdu means Hope. Focusing on children between the ages of 3 to 6 years, the basic premise of the project is to ‘follow the child’ as he/she continues on a journey of development. PU was conceptualized after an extensive evaluation of ECD programs in the grass root areas of Pakistan. It utilizes best ECD practices from the Montessori and High/Scope pedagogies, and has been developed by ECD experts specifically for the rural setting. This school-based program was initiated in collaboration with AKES,P in March of 2009 with the completion of renovations to the Khyber ECD Centre at Ali Muhammad Khowaja Goth, a village in the interior parts of Sindh. The first year pilot has proven to be very successful and plans are in the pipeline to expand the program to benefit other villages.

Umeed's Mission

Establish a model program that empowers grass-root communities to break the vicious cycle of poverty and deprivation through education.


  1. Expand upon existing ECD curricula and enable teachers to create appropriate material
  2. Construct & Renovate ECD facilities in order to meet critical needs
  3. Develop a sustainable model with the aim to replicate pilot activities
  4. Increase capacity of teachers, mentors & staff

Operational Dimensions to Achieve the Objectives

In order to achieve the above objectives the team of Project Umeed is working in the following dimensions/line of actions:

Academic Operations

  • Preparatory Sessions: The initial operations on the academic front started with preparatory sessions where the team leader held sessions with key stakeholders in order to create common understanding about the rationale of the intervention and how it can benefit the wider community.
  • Needs Assessment: Based on the needs assessment exercise, the project team was able to foresee the exact location where the project could be piloted. For this purpose, Khyber in interior Hyderabad Sindh was selected for initial project activities.
  • Curriculum enrichment: The project team realized that the most important task beforehand was curriculum enrichment before designing training for the teachers in the project area.
  • Training Design: In a participatory manner, involving key stakeholders and based on the rich experience of the project leader, training materials were prepared and pre-tested.
  • Training Delivery: Training of teachers was the most important and critical milestone which was carried out by the project team smoothly under the supervision of the project leader.
  • Monitoring and Support team Mentors: Besides regular monitoring of the teachers after training, some potential individuals were trained as mentors who could help sustain the intervention not only in the current location but also in future endeavors of the project while in the phase of replication.
  • Monitoring & Support Tool: The project is also cognizant of the fact that just delivery of training would not suffice the needs of teachers in the future. There is need of a constant monitoring mechanism which could help the teachers improve their skills as they conduct sessions in the class. For this purpose, regular monitoring and support is ensured through the project team.
  • Enable teachers to develop material: The teaching material developed initially was not considered sufficient for the future needs of the project. Therefore, teachers get regular training to develop fresh material from their own experience which they could use comfortably.


Infrastructural Operations
The existing infrastructure in the project area did not conform to the teaching needs, nor was it attractive for the students to stay motivated during the teaching and learning process. Therefore, the project initiated renovation work at the Khyber school and turned it into a very different premise with all facilities to help better teaching and learning for students as well as for teachers. Parents from all over the village admired this paradigm change in the environment which was so attractive and welcoming.

Strategic Partnerships with Key Stakeholders
The project cannot achieve its greater objectives in vacuum and establishing cordial relations and collaborative links with key stakeholders was indispensable. In order to ensure this, the project team closely worked with key stakeholders such as the Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan, Government education system and the community based organizations that play important role in the direction and management of the project.

Developing Capacity from Village Community
Given the fact that this program was very new to the area and obviously there was lack of human resources to support the program activities in the future. Hence the need to develop capacities at various levels. The program adopted a multi-pronged approach to develop capacities at programmatic as well as implementation levels. The program team underwent special training and exposure right from the conception to implementation. Moreover, key persons as mentors and volunteers were also prepared as a second line resource for use in the future.


Following the Child

This commonly used phrase comes from the Montessori practice of observing children in their natural environment (e.g. the prepared classroom)
and using their interests and level of ability as a
guide. The caregiver provides appropriate material
and adapts to meet the needs of each child accordingly.

Using Best Early Childhood Practices

Our programs are adapted for the specific areas
we engage in (e.g. rural environments) and utilize
time tested methods to make impact at the
grassroots level. We have a dedicated core of
experienced developers and trainers, with
backgrounds in a multitude of ECD disciplines.

Creating a More Peaceful and Sustainable World

By focusing on the early years, our programs capitalize on a window of opportunity when the brain is still forming and a person is most conducive to internalizing humanistic principles. By instilling a strong framework of values and ethics in our children, we plant seeds for future prosperity in the world.

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