Pause, reflect – lets celebrate journey of a team #SocialTransformation #Heroes


What better way to spend a Sunday in Karachi than reminiscing and sharing Peace Through Prosperity (BringPTP)’s success with y’all.

Let me set the scene real quick!


  • Peace Through Prosperity (BringPTP) brings its social transformation programs to Karachi. See this if you’re not familiar with BringPTP’s work.
  • BringPTP set’s about building the delivery team for what is to be the largest engagement in what is and remains a very challenging engagement.
  • Attempt 1 fails fast, and the delivery team is down to three! that reflection is for another post but it’s worth stating; for this program BringPTP hired MBAs, Tech and Social sciences graduates, of the seven hires all but one made the cut in the field, it was a brutal sprint and bloody retrospective!… and yes there was a lot of drama!
  • Attempt 2 yields a team of 9 all potential (very rough) gems, all hired from within marginalized communities they are soon to engage. There are two team members  with Higher Education qualifications, some have secondary schooling but others are only literate. None have ever been through any formal professional training of any sort or undertaken anything like this. Overall the team is hired on their street smarts, courage and a hunger for socio-economic transformation in their communities.
  • The newly formed team’s training and coaching lasts for two weeks with key areas of focus being; BringPTP’s programs and Agility (Scrum), Majority of the training and coaching delivered was in the field itself.
  • The team takes a cautious start to the project. There are many failures along the way, the team inspects, learns, adapts and keeps moving forward whilst delivering phenomenal, phenomenal results!
  • The team isn’t quite self organizing yet, but they are well on their way!

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Political Transformation in Modern Britain – From New Labour to Labour

Westminster Palace 2013

Anthropologists see politics as the process in which societies negotiate their own aims and the means to reach them, and political organisation as the relations of power that shape the process and influence the outcome of this negotiation.

With Jeremy Corbyn elected as the leader of the opposition Britain is announcing to those who can listen beyond the noise of engineered consent (of which almost all our media outlets are guilty) that we need, want and are actioning change. This is not a gamble for authenticity, or simply enriching the political debate in our Parliament, it is a vote of confidence for values that made our society great. 

It is a very British ‘spring’,  a rebellion in the face of a sterile political landscape where the only option has been right of centre since 1997. It is our very own transformation; under new labour (wannabe conservatives), the green coalition and now a conservative government we have tried different variants to explore who has the fix for our fracturing and regressing society. We have seen little to no progress to address the plight of the working class, poverty is on the rise, gulf between the classes ever growing, middle Britain getting squeezed whilst the 1% are thriving.

It is not just a change of leadership, it is a significant shift in our politics in over two decades, of course the media is going after this catalyst of change, the character assassination, telling of half truths and scaremongering is designed to engineer our attention away from the real issues that we need the current opposition to address in parliament. Sure I don’t agree with a lot of things Corbyn’s pitching but at least in Corbyn’s Labor we have a choice that is different.

With no difference amongst political parties and their values there is no choice, with no choice nations get lethargic and we stop engaging in political debate and stop influencing the landscape, that is when fascists get the opportunity to seize control.

We have been in need of a strong Left to course correct and keep the Right in check, and with this sea change in labour we might just get that; an agent to renegotiate the terms and means to secure a future for the many and not just the few.

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The power of others – Your Success Requires The Aid Of Others

9OTHERS-logo Back in May 2012 I got introduced to Katie Lewis at a peer collaboration forum held at LBS, though that  particular forum was not my cup of tea the introduction to Katie and 9Others kicked off a series of epic mini adventures. If you are unfamiliar with 9Others I recommend you familiarise yourself, meet up with Katie and Matthew and join the community of ‘others’.

Having attended a few dinners, benefited from the community and given back, I took the plunge and with the founders blessing started hosting dinners whilst travelling to cities unfamiliar with concept of 9others and/or organised peer collaboration, my first was in Islamabad, the second in Karachi and third in Dubai, and since then its gone on when ever I end up in any of these cities and have been awarded the privilege of being the host for Islamabad, Karachi and Dubai for 9Others! (thank you Katie, Matthew)

In May the focus of the dinners in Karachi changed, whilst the usual suspects are entrepreneurs from tech and tech related sectors I opted to run a micro-fail experiment and see what happens when you get 9 entrepreneurs of circumstances together, the experience was stimulating, challenging and cosmic!


The first such dinner was held in the last week of May 2014 in a neighbourhood called Qayumabad in Karachi, Pakistan; you can read about it here. Since I was in Karachi for a few days that week I moderated the dinner myself and trained the team at Peace Through Prosperity (PTP)  to host and more importantly moderate the dinners. As with DSDM and SCRUMBAN the PTP team took to it like fish to water and in the first week of June hosted two additional dinners! one in Korangi 2.5 and one in Bilal colony. Though both the dinners were successes, what happened at the dinner in Korangi 2.5 is what I want to share in this post…

Entrepreneur of circumstance Fruit Vendor Karachi

Naeem Uddin – a street Food vendor with a cart but no Food to sell

The 9Others dinner in Korangi 2.5 was held on the 7th of June 2014 and attended by 10 entrepreneurs of circumstances and 3 moderators from team PTP. The age ranges were from 17 year old Mohammad Masood a street based fruit vendor to 50 year old Abdul Rasheed a local Fruit wholesaler. At the dinner one of the attendees was Naeem Uddin a 45 year old food vendor whose challenge was his livelihood; recent troubles in the city had wiped him out financially and though he had his own cart to sell wares from he had no capital or credit line to buy stock and start over.

Peace Through Prosperity Poverty Entrepreneur of circumstance Fruit wholesale Karachi

Rasheed a Fruit wholesaler seizes the opportunity, extends Naeem a credit line and creates another outlet for his wares!

In stepped Abdul Rasheed a local Fruit wholesaler who enquired if Naeem would be open to selling fruit instead of samosas and kebabs… Naeem’s response was resolute yes and Abdul Rasheed promised him a PKR 50,000- (£300) credit line on stock. Team PTP checked on Naeem the next day and found him with a full cart of fruits and a beaming smile… it is a win-win for both the entrepreneurs!

That’s the power of others… when peer collaboration and peer sourcing works it is magical!  The Peace Through Prosperity team plans to host 2-4 such 9others dinners for this entrepreneur segment on a monthly basis. Good job and good luck… you can keep pulse with what they are up to here, here and here.

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Peace Through Prosperity a year on…

Peace Through Prosperity Almost a year since a few of us set off in hope of bringing peace through prosperity, almost three since fewer still woke up to take tiny steps towards an elusive goal in a sh*t storm of hate, what seemed beyond reach seems further still, the reality of this struggle has set in and strengthened our resolve even more. OooRah.

We have learned a great deal, taught a little and stumbled a lot. Have fought hard for a beach head, dug our first trench and set our sights on the banks and beyond. There are moments where it all comes together, then falls apart only to come back together again.

We have found friends amongst strangers and strangers amongst friends, found cowards amongst giants and brave amongst the meek, been hope, found hope, saw hope; the mojo of audacity; tangible, delivered, promised or illusive… it keeps us going in all its forms. We have come across more than our fair share of asses on all sides in all guises and have built up an apetite to claw past numerous more.

Banded together a team; a year travelled and a ready for a 100 more.

It could have been harder, could have been short lived, could have been many things less than it is if not for you… who have supported us thus far in many ways all awesomely enormous… Thank you.

@BringPTP #Peace #Prosperity #Poverty #PovertyAlleviation #Enterprise #Entrepreneurship #Founders #Hope #Development #WHAM

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Inspiring street cobblers – entrpreneurs at the sharp end

As entrepreneurs we believe in the power of ideas and ambition to change markets and economies, but what about entrepreneurs at the sharp Peace Through Prosperity end, our peers many borders, timezones, cultures and life-styles away, those who are entrepreneurs not by choice but by circumstances, like the street cobblers in Pakistan that Peace Through Prosperity (PTP) is working with.

The challenge is to change their attitudes towards their enterprise of circumstance, to inspire them, to bring forth their self belief battered by circumstance and civil society being considerably uncivil towards them!

I regularly speak to would be and nascent start-up founders, though doing so in London, Helsinki, Islamabad or Dubai is easy compared to the street cobblers, for starters the usual audience is from the tech sector embarking on an adventure of choice with ideas that if not unique are not commoditised.  When I took upon myself to be the first guest speaker at Peace Through Prosperity’s mini-MBA program for street cobblers the aim was to explore what works, what does not and what I can learn from the experience and share with future speakers to tailor the message for the audience.

The experience was humbling, stimulating, challenging and cosmic!

I was in on the 4th evening of the mini-MBA program so the hard part of changing attitudes had already been done by the PTP trainers! the street cobblers were already in ‘bigger ambition’ mode! this was humbling – it threw my preconceptions out of the window!

A short conversation with the group made it abundantly clear the cohort had been well equipped for the operational aspects of running their enterprises, the mini-MBA program had done them good! some were spot on with their new marketing strategies, others had become more adept at convincing their peers towards collective buying – a cooperative of sorts in the making! and some had their elevator pitch perfected! I got pitched a repair I did not know I needed at the end of the session!

What was lacking was uniformity, a medium to long term plan… and it made sense; the mini-MBA is designed to better equip them to work ‘in their business’ as efficient operational managers and not ‘on their business’ as strategic visionaries… and it is the latter that builds empires and the former that ensures the cash keeps flowing in process.

My topic of conversation was planning, dedicated to achieving their ambitions from a personal and commercial context….  and to break down the barriers, to let them know there is little difference between a founder who starts in a bedroom or a garage with a laptop and one who starts on the street pavement with a needle and thread.. circumstance or choice the game is the same.

Inspiring Street Cobblers – Guest Speaker Series from Peace Through Prosperity on Vimeo.

You too can get involved,  tell your friends about PTP’s work, like them on Facebook, follow them on twitter, write/contribute to their blog, do yout part to change livelihoods for the less privileged on the Rock. Its not about giving them a hand-out, its about giving them a leg-up.

On a unrelated note I realised how my  Urdu has taken a slide! came back to Blighty with a few good reads in Urdu and hope to improve my Urdu soon… before speaking to another street cobbler cohort in the future!

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