Social & Economic Development- Good Governance

1. Strengthening Electoral and Legislative Processes (SELP)

SPO successfully implemented its project titled ‘Strengthening Electoral and Legislative Processes’ (SELP) in partnership with the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA). The project started in August 2018 and concluded in April 2020 and was implemented in districts Bahawalnagar, Sahiwal and Lodhran in Punjab.

The overall goal of this project was to strengthen women’s political participation by registering them with National Database & Registration Authority Pakistan’ in three districts of Punjab.

successfully registered 32,450 with NADRA and helped them to be eligible to cast their votes. More than 12.5 million women in Pakistan are not registered with NADRA as of 2019 and the number of unregistered women has been increasing day by day. The situation has led to gender deficit in the eligible voters’ lists which, obviously, is a great concern to State departments and for CSOs. SPO successfully initiated an identification process in May 2019 and till date 19000 unregistered women were identified. Community groups were engaged through social mobilization activities. As a result of SPO’s continuous efforts, 2000 identified and verified unregistered women were facilitated to obtain CNIC from NADRA Registration Centers (NRCs). Furthermore, the mobilization sessions were conducted to sensitize community influential groups on women’s rights and improved women’s access to social services which are linked with their possession of CNICs.

2. Engaging Youth for Building Community Resilience and Promoting Social Cohesion

SPO successfully implemented its project titled ‘Engaging Youth for Building Community Resilience and Promoting Social Cohesion’ with the financial support of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). The project started in October 2018 and concluded in March 2019 and was implemented in districts Multan & Rawalpindi in Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory.

The overall goal of the project was to engage 200 youth (age 18-29) as beneficiaries in a period of six months in Multan and Islamabad/Rawalpindi in the year 2018-19. The project aimed to mobilize the youth for promoting peace and social cohesion, using national volunteering and engaging volunteers from community with the support of community groups.

SPO further facilitated youth action plans which aimed to sensitize and mobilize both men and women participants from the community to play their role in preventing violence against children living in their areas. For this, a trained force of volunteers engaged education and medical institutions, parents and communities living in slums of selected Union Councils. The fourth SAP successfully addressed the water conservation at community level by engaging youth, men, women and PWDs demonstrating water conservation practices by developing water conservation models of wash basin. More than 25,000 plants were distributed among students and residents of selected Union Councils which enabled plantation in public places.  SPO engaged Members of Provincial Assembly, Punjab, District administration and religious leaders through an advocacy campaign. The charter of demands to introduce reforms in the Punjab Youth Policy was developed. Furthermore, the process of policy formulation was shared with youth by engaging policy experts at Provincial level. More than 30,000 participants were engaged during implementation of SAPs including 14,900 women.

SPO also partnered with the Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122 which provided support for training community youth volunteers for better preparedness for natural disasters and to enhance community-level resilience. These community volunteers were registered with Rescue 1122 Community Emergency Rescue Teams (CERT) to provide prompt response in the event of crisis and disasters.

3. Policy Advocacy and Research to Strengthen Implementation of Pro-Women Legislation and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Response Services in Sindh

SPO successfully implemented its project titled ‘Policy Advocacy and Research to Strengthen Implementation of Pro-Women Legislation and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Response Services in Sindh’ with the financial support of Australian Government & Australian Aid. The project started in January 2017 and concluded in December 2019 and was implemented in Sindh.

The objective of this project was the establishment and strengthening of pro-women structures and to improve the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and protection services in Sindh under the pro-women laws enacted by the Government of Sindh in previous years.

SPO carried out different activities including a two-day Strategic Planning and Capacity-Building Workshops of the Provincial Advocacy Network – Provincial Steering Forum (PSF) to devise a strategy to achieve project milestones. 43 Women Medical Officers, 12 Police officials, 15 Prosecutors and four District Judges were provided orientation on “Standard GBV Guidelines” through one-day workshop held in Karachi and Hyderabad respectively. In this connection, an Illustrative manual/display chart of medico-legal services was designed and distributed among key relevant stakeholders to facilitate GBV survivors in the Medico Legal Examination (MLE) process. The Sindh Commission on the Status of Women was facilitated to hold consultations with District administration, in-charge officials of Dar-ul-Amans and civil society representatives on the status of safe houses established at District level on the directive of the Sindh High Court. As a result of consultations, the Sindh Commission on the Status of Women (SCSW) drafted and submitted detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for shelter houses to the Social Welfare Department for further deliberations. The Sindh Cabinet approved SOPs along with a grant of Rs. 10 million for the establishment and strengthening of safe houses at District level under the supervision of District administration on 25th February, 2019.

Project interventions reached twelve million beneficiaries directly or indirectly out of which five million were women and seven million men. Twenty-six thousand persons were direct beneficiaries through this project in Sindh. Extensive media campaigns through electronic, print and social media about the issues and challenges in implementation of pro-women laws i.e. Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013, Sindh Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2013 and Anti-Women Customary Practices Act, 2011, were launched during the reporting period. Five TV talk shows, seven issue-based articles, FM messages, campaigns in targeted districts of project were conducted.

4. Promotion of Social Well-being of Sanitary Workers (PSWSW) in Sindh

SPO successfully implemented its project titled ‘Promotion of Social Well-being of Sanitary Workers (PSWSW) in Sindh’ with the financial support of Norwegian Church Aid (NCA). The project started in July 2018 and concluded in December 2019 and was implemented in districts Karachi and Hyderabad in Sindh.

The overall goal of this pilot project was to minimize the social stigmatization associated with sanitary work through lobby with key stakeholders to ameliorate the well- being of sanitary workers and to provide them the primary awareness on health hazards, importance of using safety kits along with provision of technical support.

SPO facilitated consultative process with sanitary workers around the key issues hampering their wellbeing at work and in general life. Key areas highlighted by these consultations include: Health hazardous, accidental death; absence of safety kits / equipment, job insecurity due to contract based employment, poor implementation of labor laws, poor socio economic conditions, discrimination on the basis of profession, caste, religion, low literacy rate and absence of voice among sanitary workers.

5. Engaging the legislators for universal access to WASH Rights

SPO successfully implemented the project titled ‘Engaging the Legislators for Universal Access to WASH Rights’ in collaboration with WaterAid from December 2016 September 2019 in Sindh and Punjab.

The overall goal of the project was to progressively engage the legislators/opinion leaders and bring the WASH agenda to the Assembly floor for discussion and debate. Several advocacy meetings and trainings for legislators were organized to sensitize law makers to draft and pass a bill that recognizes WASH as a fundamental right.

SPO under its ‘Social & Economic Development’ programme implemented this project and initiated policy reforms addressing issues concerning universal access to water and sanitation rights in Sindh and Punjab. This project proactively engaged legislators from the provincial assemblies of Sindh and Punjab in policy dialogue, capacity building to understand the significance of WASH rights, and lobbying with government representatives and decision makers to allocate a sufficient budget for the sector. SPO achieved all of its targets and will continue to ensure the timely implementation of such policies.

6. Improved Access to Fair, Legitimate and Effective Justice in

SPO successfully implemented the project titled ‘Improved Access to Fair, Legitimate and Effective Justice in Pakistan’ in collaboration with Oxfam from January 2017 to June 2019. The project covered three districts of Punjab which were Khanewal, Bhakkar and Muzaffargarh.

SPO through the project contributed in making the justice system more inclusive and accessible to every citizen. In order to attain the overall goal, SPO formed 27 Ba-Ikhtiar Groups to address the plights of citizens and their needs. Community members and Local Government representatives were among the members of Ba Ikhtiar groups. The members were given awareness raising sessions and capacity building trainings.  SPO also established District Advocacy Forums in Bhakkar, Khanewal and Muzaffargarh. The advocacy groups were tasked to identify the common issues, consolidate the Charter of Demands and address the identified issues through annual advocacy action plans. The project outcomes were promising and SPO will continue its efforts to provide accessible justice to local communities.

Among its achievements in this project, SPO created safe-spaces for women and disadvantaged groups to share their grievances and gain access to Formal and Semi-Formal Justice Providers (SFJPs) at Union Council (UC), District and Provincial level.

7. AAWAZ voice and accountability program

SPO successfully implemented ‘AAWAZ Voice & Accountability Program’ with the financial support of DFID from June 2012 to March 2018. The project covered Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through a consortium of other organizations that included DAI (Managemnet Organization) Aurat Foundation (AF), South Asia Partnership- Pakistan (SAP-PK) and Sungi Development Foundation.

The AAWAZ programme was implemented in 130,000 villages, and in settlements of 130 Union Councils in 13 Districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The program exceeded all output indicators and was given an A++ grade in the 2016 external annual review conducted by DFID.


SPO implemented this long term programme to ensure open, inclusive and accountable democratic processes nationwide. Through this program, citizens were able to access information about their rights and responsibilities. SPO also enhanced their capacities in dispute management within their communities and helped them to identify the gaps in essential services provided by the government. The citizens were linked with Government Departments at both local and provincial levels for better provisions of needed social services.  The program objectives were met successfully.

8. Improving Women’s Participation in the Electoral Process – CVP Grant Cycle-11

SPO successfully implemented its project titled ‘Improving Women’s Participation in the Electoral Process’ with the financial support of Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA). The project started in June 2017 and concluded in April 2018 and was implemeneted in district Bahawalnagar and Toba Tek Singh in Punjab.

The overall goal of the project was to enhance engagement of CSOs for women voter registration through individual and collective action and to increase the registration of women voters through direct and indirect facilitation and support for CNIC registration.

SPO conducted a number of activities focusing on identification, listing and registration of women for CNICs. The team conducted 50 mobilization and coordination meetings with women community groups, political parties’ representatives, District Election Commission, NADRA, Local Government representatives, influential/religious leaders, Lady Health Workers/Lady Health Visitors and media to promote women’s CNIC registration in Districts Bahawalnagar and Toba Tek Singh.

SPO achieved the desired outcome of identifying 86,000 women who did not possess CNICs and facilitated 41,675 identified women to obtain CNICs from NADRA facility.

9. Making Provincial Governments in Pakistan more accountable for Human Rights

SPO successfully implemented ‘Making Provincial Governments in Pakistan more accountable for Human Rights’ project with the financial support of Foreign & Common Wealth Office from June 2016 to March 2017 in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

The overall goal of this project was to inculcate and strengthen the Universal Human Rights in the provincial Human Rights Policies for improved social and economic well-being of people. The year-long initiative was based on a multi-pronged approach which comprised of orientation meetings with stakeholders, training workshops for the legislators and relevant departments and developing linkages between federal and provincial Human Rights departments and committees.

SPO mobilized and sensitized government office bearers and political representatives to create four provincial ‘Task Forces on Human Rights’ under the appointment of the respective Provincial Chief Ministers. The Task Forces on Human Rights have the responsibility of implementing human rights policy frameworks adopted by provincial government departments owing to the cross-cutting nature of human rights. SPO also established Civil Society Watch Groups on Human Rights to act as watch dogs to ensure implementation of these policies. As a result of concentrated advocacy and lobbying with Provincial Human Rights Departments, Punjab and Sindh have adopted and promulgated the human rights policies in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

10. Citizens First

SPO successfully implemented ‘Citizen First’ project with the financial support of the Royal Netherland Embassy and Oxfam from April 2015 to October 2016. The project covered the districts of Khairpur, Larkana, Shikarpur and Sukkur in Sindh.

The overall goal of the project was to facilitate long-term stability in Pakistan through strengthened local and national governance structures. The project interventions intended to contribute to human security by specifically strengthening the dialogue between government and civil society, and increasing the engagement of civil society in structural advocacy at different levels to foster more efficiency, accountability and transparency in the delivery of basic services by the government.

SPO facilitate to sensitize and educate 14,000 community members about their fundamental human rights and responsibilities as citizens. In districts Khairpur, Sukkur, Shikarpur, and Larkana, 14 citizen groups were established which continue to function and engage with local authorities for the demand of equal and inclusive access to social services. SPO ensures that these 14 CSOs / CBOs across Pakistan will continue to campaign and lobby with federal/national assemblies in order to protect the rights of citizens.

11. Strengthening the Rights & Justice Framework Agenda in Pakistan (Completed)

SPO successfully implemented ‘Strengthening the Rights & Justice Framework Agenda in Pakistan’ project with the financial support of TFP and USAID. The project covered all four provinces of Pakistan from October 2015 to February 2016.

The overall goal of the project was to enhance the capacity of the employees working at the Ministry of Human Rights by equipping them with skills sets in report writing, advocacy, outreach, lobbying and hosting employees to ensure fundamental rights of all citizens, especially marginalized section of the society; enhance report writing skills of Ministry’s employees; and capacitate the Ministry’s employees for better advocacy, outreach, lobbying, reporting and hosting events related to human rights in Pakistan.

SPO under its ‘Social & Economic Development’ programme conducted several training sessions which were designed on the specific needs identified during FGDs, status of HR violations in Pakistan and their respective PPC/CrPC provisions in the law, current status of reporting on core UN conventions & global best practices. The training content was designed to realize the above mentioned objectives in a series of trainings conducted across Pakistan with the Ministry’s staff, aligned departments and other pertinent stakeholders. Around 47 individuals were trained from MoHR, other relevant government line departments, and members of Academia & Civil Society.

12. Promoting Access to Justice

SPO successfully implemented ‘Promoting Access to Justice’ project” across Pakistan with the financial support of USAID-Gender Equity Programme. The project started in January 2015 and concluded in March 2016.

The overall goal of this project was to improve the access of women to the formal justice system, and to address gender based violence through sensitization of district bar associations and through establishing a kiosk in the courts for women accessing formal judicial system.

SPO collaborated with the Bar Associations in order to take gender sensitive measures so the women can gain access to the formal justice system without any hindrances. The project enhanced knowledge and sensitivity of the members of Bar Associations across Pakistan on themes like gender, legal approaches to equality, pro-women laws, family and minority laws (including Qisas and Diyat) and international legal instruments and obligations related to women’s rights. SPO’s efforts have helped reduce gender-based violence through increased sensitization among judicial system and awareness amongst communities.

13. Citizen Voice Project: Enhancing Capacities for Transparent and Accountable Local Governance

SPO implemented ‘Enhancing Capacities for Transparent and Accountable Local Governance’ under Citizen Voice Project initiated by USAID. The project started in March 2015 and concluded in February 2016 covering districts Thatta, Badin and Karachi in Sindh and districts Multan, Muzaffargarh and Khanewal in Punjab.

The project successfully capacitated Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and developed linkages among CBOs and politicians in order to increase their interaction with the related departments of Health, Education, Local Government, and Women Development.  The office of Ombudsman and Information Commission were closely involved in the project interventions. The broad strategy of the project revolved around disseminating information on complaint mechanisms to enhance citizen’s and politician’s knowledge and to strengthen CBOs.

I order to ensure transparency and accountability in public service delivery SPO strategized to work in close coordination with different public institutions and made sure that both local and provincial government representatives are accessible to all citizens in their respective constituency.  As a result of this project, more than 60 advocacy action plans were prepared by the local communities, which were later shared with the relevant departments for implementation.

14. Capacity Building of Women’s Organizations

SPO successfully implemented ‘Capacity Building of Women’s’ Organizations’ project in collaboration of USAID-Gender Equity Program from July 2012 to February 2015. The project capacitated Women’s Organizations (WOs) in Sindh, Balochistan, Gilgit- Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK).

The overall goal of this project was to build the capacities of 60 WO’s in the area of ‘Organizational Development’ in order to help them to play an effective role in their respective communities and manage women-related community-based projects.

SPO trained two batches of master trainers from select Women’s Organizations. Total, 30 trainings were conducted on skills such as Project Cycle Management, Gender Sensitization and Financial Management. The project benefitted 47 women rights activists from 60 organizations based in targeted districts.  SPO successfully implemented this initiative by utilizing its extensive country-wide outreach and linkages with Women’s organizations. SPO aims to strengthen more partners in future for an equitable and just society.

15. Promotion of Human Rights through Human Rights Policy Framework

  1. Promotion of Human Rights through Human Rights Policy Framework

SPO successfully implemented ‘Promotion of Human Rights through Human Rights Policy Framework’ project in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Law, Justice & Human Rights, Government of Pakistan. The project started in May 2014 and concluded in April 2015, covering all provinces of Pakistan.

The three major objectives of this project were to a) prepare a draft National Human Rights Policy Framework (NHRPF) for discussion and incorporation of recommendations; b) consolidate stakeholder recommendations in the draft NHRPF; and c) present a consolidated NHRPF to the government for adoption. SPO held a National Consultation to devise the National Human Rights Policy Framework and policy principles in collaboration with Ministry of Law, Justice & Human Rights. The objective of the consultation was to devise National Human Rights Policy Framework and policy principles for the Government of Pakistan which would ensure that the State of Pakistan has a dignified and responsible image, ensuring the protection of the human rights provided in the constitution and pledged by the State through ratification of the international conventions.

SPO managed to engage relevant stakeholders such as government representatives, legislators, civil society, human rights activists, lawyers and journalists in series of provincial consultation meetings.

In order to review and present final draft of the NHRPF, a national consultation meeting was held on 24th & 25th February, at Islamabad and a large number of human rights activists, philanthropists, environmentalists, academia, representatives from civil society organizations and officials provincial and federal government departments were present. The draft was presented to Ministry for adoption and SPO successfully attained project goal.

16. Political Parties Development Programme

SPO successfully implemented ‘Political Parties Development Programme’ with the financial support of National Democratic Institute (NDI). The project started in October 2011 and concluded in February 2015and engaged political parties across Pakistan.

The overall goal of the project was to strengthen the relationship between civil society and political parties in Pakistan in order to foster a participatory political milieu aligned with the principles of democracy. Through this project, SPO sensitized political parties to incorporate the voices and concerns of the common people into their policies and manifestos and also supported individuals and ensured their inclusion in democratic processes.

SPO under its ‘Social & Economic Development’ programme, identified key experts to make them part of the CSO forums, which were organized for all the mainstream political parties.

Two CSO forums were arranged in Islamabad with the aim to initiate political discourse between civil society and PWGs. The speakers at the forum included prominent civil society activists and subject specialists who deliberated at length upon key policy issues. These forums provided a much needed platform for both the civil society as well as the political parties to understand and benefit from each other’s perspective.

17. Promote Social Justice, Democratic Governance, And Peace

SPO successfully implemented its project named ‘Promote Social Justice, Democratic Governance and Peace’ with the financial support of the British High Commission (BHC) from October 2011 to September 2014. The project covered 42 districts in Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The objective of the project was to build the capacity of Community-­Based Organizations CBOs, Civil Society Networks (CSNs) and political representatives as to enable them towards better practices in democratic governance, social justice and social harmony. SPO designed knowledge-based programs on human rights and conflict management. SPO also trained staff and members of target CBOs to improve their organizational management skills. SPO also built the capacities of political representatives and CSNs in order to launch nationwide advocacy campaigns in social cohesion and harmony.

SPO under its ‘Social & Economic Development’ programme trained 240 Community Organizations (CO) on themes which included the rights-based approach, democratic governance, gender and women rights and conflicts resolution. SPO also facilitated COs in developing 480 action plans to further support democratic governance and human rights while keeping a special focus on minority rights. SPO held 90 advocacy campaigns on peace building and conflict prevention measures.

As a result of SPO’s efforts, 15000 complaints related to governance issues were lodged in the ombudsman’s office,100 human rights violations were responded to by SPO partner organizations, 25000 women acquired CNICs and became registered voters, and around 960 awareness raising/advocacy events were held.

18. Assess and benchmark the status of NGOs/CBOs and to conduct their respective capacity assessments in Pakistan

SPO successfully implemented its ‘Assess and Benchmark the Status of NGOs/CBOs and to Conduct their Respective Capacity Assessments in Pakistan’ study with the financial support of Greenacre Associates (GA) and DFID. The project started in May 2013 and concluded in December 2013 and was implemented in select districts across Pakistan.


The objective of the project was to build the capacities of staff members, induct them into training programs designed to enable them to assess and benchmark the status of NGOs identified by SPO.

SPO evaluated 2000 NGOs with whom SPO has worked with previously. The evaluation included contacting NGOs and having them complete a questionnaire for each NGO in order to include their details in Greenacres Associates database for future engagement with these NGOs.

19. Ending Torture and II-Treatment of Women in Police Custody in Pakistan (Completed)

SPO successfully implemented its project titled ‘Ending Torture and III-Treatment of Women in Police Custody in Pakistan’ with the financial support of Oxfam GB. The project started in February 2011 and concluded in November 2013 and was implemented in Lahore and Rawalpindi.


The objective of the project was to ensure the fair treatment of women, who are victims of violence, by law enforcement agencies and to improve their living conditions in police custody and shelter homes.

SPO developed training manuals for police and jail staff on guidelines taken from the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) and gender sensitization. In addition to training the police, SPO also trained the staff working at these shelter homes. SPO was able to reach out to 370 women in jails and Dar-ul-Amans through the provision of legal counselling to 240 women and trained 200 women on life skills.  SPO also trained 1500 police, jail and Dar-ul-Amans (government run shelter home) on UN CAT and Gender. SPO also enrolled 100,000 people in the advocacy campaigns addressing torture issues.

20. Promoting Women Political Participation in Pakistan

SPO successfully implemented ‘Strengthening of Women’s Leadership Role and Establishing Women Protection Networks in Eight Flood Affected Districts’ project with the financial support of UNIFEM. The project started in December 2010 and concluded in March 2011, covering districts Nowshera and Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, districts Multan and Rajan Pur in Punjab, districts Thatta and Sukkar in Sindh and districts Naseerabad and Jaffarabad in Balochistan.

The overall goal of the project was to harness a network of local women leaders who will in turn seek to protect women rights by ensuring their role and integration in various aspects of disaster risk preparedness, mitigation and prevention related planning, initiatives and interventions.

SPO built capacity of 250 women leaders and the officials of district line agencies who later took frontline roles in protecting women rights. The project ensured that these 250 women have worked closely with affected women and helped them to address women concerns in relation to their rehabilitation and reconstruction requirements (in case of occurrence of a disaster), combat gender based violence, and lobby for including women in decision making forums. SPO also enhanced lobbying capacities of women leaders and groups resulting in more gender responsive disaster risk preparedness, mitigation and prevention measures by the state and the non-state actors. These interventions led to development of a coherent strategy for SPO and its partner organizations to ensure fuller and righteous inclusion of women in future disaster risk mitigation, preparedness and prevention measures to seek to end all forms of violence and discrimination against women. SPO was already providing emergency and relief support to aforementioned districts through food packages, access to clean water, and shelter. The project was appreciated by UN agencies and local line departments.

21. Gender Equality Project

SPO successfully implemented ‘Gender Equality Project’ with the financial support of USAID Gender Equality Program. The project started in March 2003 and concluded in December 2003, covering district district Turbat in Balochistan, district Hyderabad in Sindh, district Peshawar in KPK and district Multan in Punjab.

The overall goal of this project was to empower women population of the project area through capacity building and linkage development of women councilors. Through this project SPO enhanced capacity of 400 women in selected district. The project envisioned to equip women councilors with skills to access institutional mechanisms and knowledge of women development issues.

SPO trained 400 women councilors in the key areas of communication, resource mobilization, data   collection and analysis, and action planning skills.  SPO also organized a ‘Resource Mela’ to provide a platform for women councilors to engage directly and build liaison with stakeholders representing sectors of Education, Economic Empowerment, Health, Legal Rights and Violence Against Women & Girls.  These women councilors were also connected with the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Women Development.  These councilors developed linkages with line departments and other civil society organizations, which later supported them in specific action planning based on women related issues in development schemes at district level. Being the coordinator for four networks, SPO linked the women councilors with the Gender and Governance Network (Multan), BASHM-Turbat Gender Resource Centre (Turbat), Gender Voice (Peshawar) and G-Net (Hyderabad) for technical backstopping.