Qasim the Khadim – Communication is the Key
The international community pursues global sustainability goals (the “Social Development Goals” or SDGs) that aim to contribute to improving the living conditions of all humans, especially those of disadvantaged groups. Pakistan works on fulfilling the SDGs too. For example, local governments are being supported in their efforts to reliably provide and improve services that are vital to the quality of living. A steady exchange between state and citizens is necessary in order to achieve this as the offered services have to reflect existing needs and be taken advantage of. Concepts like transparency, accountability and inclusion are not always easily conveyed to the target audience. This is the case for demographics with a low level of education and little exposure to political processes in particular, even if governmental action directly affects or possibly benefits them. If on top of that a majority of the population distrusts the state, finding a common language with the citizens becomes a necessity as well as a challenge for the government. This is where “Qasim the Khadim” enters the stage: Qasim is a classic local government official yet he is different than many people would expect. He is a fictional character brought to life by social media accounts. Both analog and digital, sometimes precocious and oftentimes witty, he always supports his community with help and advice. Qasim's anecdotal tales are both from and for citizens and strengthen the band of trust between them and their local governments. Based on the Entertainment-Education-Approach, his posts on social media contribute to educating the citizens and improving their participation in political processes.