United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan, in collaboration with the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, has initiated a pilot study on urban resilience to explore the difficulties faced by the marginalized communities in Karachi’s informal settlements of Azam Basti and Rehri Goth. The project seeks to strengthen the inclusion and resilience of migrants, displaced people, and host communities in informal urban settlements across four dimensions: livelihoods, participatory urban planning and development, social cohesion, and climate change adaptation, said a press release issued by the IBA on Friday. As part of this study, a Challenge Cup was held in Karachi to identify innovative community solutions to urban resilience challenges. This Challenge Cup – the second of two in a series followed a competition-based process with the participation of the residents of Rehri Goth and Azam Basti. The themes aligned with the competition were water sanitation, education, women employment and livelihood, environment, and basic amenities and services. The adjudication panel comprised of Policy Analyst of UNDP Umer Malik, Program Manager of NIC Karachi Azfar Hussain, former MNA and consultant UNICEF Saman Jafri, and consultant for Meta and Program Manager for FEMPROW Hira Malik. A panel talk was also organized at the event by the implementing partner, Concepts Unlimited, and included Aqsa Javed from IBA, Zehra Mehdi from K-Electric, and Nadeem Sheikh from WWF Pakistan. The panel explored the problems faced by the informal settlements in Karachi and ways in which they can be addressed through community ownership and the active participation of all relevant stakeholders. Earlier, a rigorous boot camp was also conducted to refine the ideas and model them with reference to sustainability, social impact, inclusion, and community initiatives. Mentors including CEO ParhaoSabaq and Learningbite Adeil Durvesh, Program Manager Stimulus Hira Wajahat, Educationist Huma Jabeen, and Trainer and Coach Social Enterprises Sadeed Mirza were invited to inspire the participants. Assistant Resident Representative and Chief Development Policy Unit, UNDP Pakistan Ammara Durrani, in her address to the audience, emphasized the importance of innovation and co-creation in bolstering urban resilience in Pakistan. Executive Director, IBA Karachi and Lead Investigator of the UNDP-IBA research study Dr. S. Akbar Zaidi highlighted the role of data-driven approaches in development studies and policy initiatives and the important role played by academic institutions to achieve the same. Program Director Sindh SDGs Unit of Sindh Government Ghulam Mohiuddin Asim appreciated the collaboration of UNDP, IBA and Government of Sindh on this project. He was particularly impressed by the community eagerness to do well for their neighborhoods and their willingness to spend personal time and energy in improving their surroundings. The themes for the first and second Challenge Cup were informed by research work carried out by IBA Karachi and UNDP Pakistan in the informal settlements of Rehri Goth and Azam Basti. “This challenge Cup will prove itself pivotal towards enhancing the quality of life in some of Karachi’s most deserving informal communities by contributing specifically towards developing social cohesion, economic independence, and urban resilience, with the aim to shape the way forward for future interventions,” said an IBA official.