Using Sports to Reclaim Public Spaces


    July 03, 2022


    I AM KARACHI movement (IAK), the Signify Foundation, and Signify Pakistan worked together on a gender-inclusive sports program to enable youth access to sport and social interactions after dark in areas often targeted by violence and extremism.


    Sometimes referred to as ‘Orderly Disordered City’, Karachi has witnessed a systematic loss of public spaces in terms of number and accessibility due to the fear of violence. This situation caused detrimental social and cultural shifts, not only at individual but also at community level. Consequently, citizens of Karachi were left with significantly fewer opportunities for cultural rejuvenation, creativity, and expression.


    Due to the lack of infrastructure maintenance, including lighting, the sports grounds were either illegally occupied or converted into housing societies.

    Naseem hameed sport academy archery

    The sports program initiated by IAK counters violence in extremism-hit areas by providing youth with opportunities to excel and assimilate through sports. The initiative also aims at reviving communities’ connection with sports clubs as recreational points and community centres. The multiple sports and life skills trainings offered by the program focus on nourishing and developing talent for professional sports; as well as aim to increase employment prospects for dropouts. Positive mentoring and secure facilities result in peace in the communities.


    Partnering with the Signify Foundation, IAK has installed floodlights in three sports stadiums in Karachi, including one women-only sports academy.

    Naseem hameed sport academy running

    This program has been vital to achieving the following objectives:


    1. Using sports as a tool to redefine model academies by providing better opportunities to the youth for personal & social development and to bring harmony among different communities and cultures within Karachi.


    2. Providing sustainable economic opportunities by installing high quality, reliable lighting solutions for the sports stadiums, so they can rent the stadium at night to generate income.


    3. Building the capacity of the local sports centre to train the youth in sport management through the additional rent income and generating social opportunities for sports festivals for the community at night with an effective market ecosystem for the locals to earn during the sports festivals. In a hot climate such as that of Pakistan, sport is often played in cooler evening times where lighting is essential


    4. Enabling access to sports and social interactions after dark and increasing the sense of safety through installing lights in sports facilities in areas with high occurrences of violence and extremism. Good lighting increases the activity time on the sporting field and brings more numbers out to play and engage in the cooler temperatures of the evening and night.

    Floodlights after dark
    After the installation of floodlights, two of our stadiums have seen a remarkable revival of night-time activities. Flagships projects like Boys Scout Jamboree, Female Residential Football Camps, and Winter Athletics Camps for young girls have been launched. This partnership has created a multilateral revenue stream to create an eco-system to sustain and scale up these academies.
    Scout academy

    About the author:

    Saddam Siddiqui

    Saddam Siddiqui

    Project Manager, Roshan Khel, Society of I AM KARACHI


    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

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