Unilever's Lifebuoy Shampoo and the Ministry of School Education Punjab have undertaken an initiative to increase the representation of girls in the school curriculum in Pakistan.
Working with Grey Pakistan, Lifebuoy had a prominent literary figure, Zehra Nigah, rewrite a children's poem by Jameeludin Aali, which has long been part of the school curriculum. Originally narrated from a boy's perspective, the new version of the poem centres a girl as the narrator and protagonist.
Lifebuoy has run a campaign entitled 'Mein Choti Si Aik Ladki Hoon' ('I am a little girl'), which it claims has inspired policymakers to revise the school curriculum to be more balanced. The campaign includes TVCs, social-media platforms, print and prominent billboards.
The campaign has the support of Shehzad Roy, a singer and musician who founded Zindagi Trust, a non-profit dedicated to improving education. He appears in the film above.
The companies say the updated poem (see the full lyrics here) has already become a part of the national curriculum at more than 5,000 schools.
The initiative will also include the distribution of comic books created by female artists to schools nationwide, as well as an anthem that showcases professions that girls can aspire to, according to Grey.
Murad Raas, honourable minister for School Education Punjab:
The Punjab government is actively working towards generating better education opportunities for our children. We are acutely aware of the challenges faced by our girls and are working tirelessly to increase school attendance and retention rates and improve infrastructure facilities.
Asima Haq, director, beauty and personal care, Unilever Pakistan:
In 2018, Lifebuoy Shampoo embarked upon a journey to leverage education as a key enabler for females in Pakistan. This campaign reaffirms our commitment to girl empowerment at the grassroot level, where the impact is felt and needed most. We strongly believe that by educating a girl, you open up possibilities of a better future for her, her family and generations to come.