Deeply influenced by the social inequalities around her and inspired by her father’s social work in her early age, Shad Begum would become a known figure nationally and internationally because of her determined struggle to improve the conditions of the marginalized segments, especially women, of her community in the northwest of Pakistan – a deeply religious and conservative area where Taliban publically executed men and women on non-conformity to their version of Islam.
Shad Begum is the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Association for Behaviour & Knowledge Transformation (ABKT), an organization working toward the economic and political empowerment of communities in underserved areas of Pakistan. Her organization was uprooted during the Taliban take-over in Swat due to massive displacement of people in 2009-2010. Her resilience kept ABKT alive during enormous odds.
Ms. Begum previously worked with the UN Human Settlements Program as a consultant for the “Building Gender Ladder Project,” as well as with UNDP’s Women Political Participation Program.
Shad Begum is Ashoka fellow, Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at National Endowment for Democracy and Acumen Fellow. Shad is the recipient of numerous awards, including the U.S. Department of State’s “International Woman of Courage Award” (2012) and the “Prize for Creativity in Rural Life,” awarded by the Women’s World Summit Foundation (2008).