Status: Completed Start Date: 1st Jun 2012 End Date: 20th Mar 2018 Geographic Coverage: 13 districts of Paunjab & KPK Focus Area: Inclusive and accountable democratic processes SDG Goal: 6 Significantly reduces all forms of violence, and work with governments and communities to find lasting solutions to conflict and insecurity Implementing Partner: SPO Funding Partner: DFID & DAI
Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) with the financial support of DFID implemented this project in a consortium with DAI, AF, SAP-PK and Sungi Development Foundation.
The objective of this collaboration was to;
Objective of the project is to ensure that Democratic processes in Pakistan are more open, inclusive and accountable to citizens.
Pakistan’s standalone demand-side voice and accountability programme, supporting citizens to access information about their rights, resolve conflict at the local-level, and raise demands effectively about gaps in essential services. It aims to ensure that democratic processes are more open, inclusive and accountable to citizens in Pakistan.
AAWAZ (Voice and Accountability) programme was implemented by DAI in consortium with established civil society organizations (CSOs) working with over 100 community-based organizations (CBOs) across Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Over the six years of the programme, it operated in 4,500 villages and settlements in 450 Union Councils in 45 Districts. The programme met and in most cases exceeded all output indicators – as evidenced by the A++ grade in the 2016 DFID Annual Review.
Key programme achievements:
There are 5,000 AAWAZ Forums from village to National level. Forum membership now stands at more than 225,000 women, men and transgender persons in KP and Punjab. Women and transgender people constitute the majority. These and another 20,000 people mobilized through the Women Assemblies, AAWAZ Aagahi Centres (AACs), Youth Circles of Influence and Peace Connector initiative are now able to determine their own development priorities, create a climate of tolerance and non-violence and hold government to account.
More than 8 million citizens across 45 districts of KP and Punjab have directly benefitted as a result of AAWAZ interventions across the programme outputs, including conflict-pre-emption and service delivery.The programme’s reach now stands at approximately 10 million. Almost 31,000 women now hold leadership positions in the AAWAZ structures – fora, Aagahi Centres, Women Assemblies and girls are prominent in the Youth Circles of influence.
Regarding violence against women and girls (VAWG) – Forums and AACs report a decline in violence against women in all 4,500 settlements, including domestic violence and child marriage. Domestic violence is recognized as a crime by 93% of men and women who have been mobilized by the programme now believe that domestic violence is a crime and 50% of these have taken some form of concrete action to prevent an incidence of VAWG.
More than 86% of men and women in programme areas believe that women’s vote and candidature in elections is important for strengthening democracy in Pakistan while an average of 89% of women cast their votes in 450 AAWAZ’s union councils across KP and Punjab.
In the most recent Local Government elections in AAWAZ programme areas, 649 women and 894 socially excluded men were elected. Many of these had taken no part in public life prior to their involvement in the programme.
In a major shift in attitudes towards peaceful co-existence, translating into behavior, 94% of men and women members of AAWAZ Fora now believe that religious minorities should celebrate their events with full liberty and 64% of them reported that they have participated in the social events of other religions.
Early Warning and Response mechanisms were established in all programme districts, in some cases these have been taken up by the district government and in most cases have resulted in concrete action to counter religion or gender-based violence.
Though the development of Charters of Demand and Village Development Plans, 95% of locally-identified needs in AAWAZ target communities have received government attention.
AAWAZ was instrumental in the passage of six national and provincial ground-breaking laws to support women, girls and religious minorities, including the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act 2016.
Through the Khuli Kacheries (open community meetings) and greater access to government officials an additional 14% women and excluded groups in programme districts have successfully negotiated with sub-national governments for improved access to public services, particularly in health, education and water and sanitation. Of these, 75% these are satisfied or more satisfied with the services.
AAWAZ was instrumental in establishing the South Asia Women’s Alliance – a network of women leaders from the grass-roots. Since its launch in 2016, the Alliance has established its presence with the SAARC secretariat, in order to ensure that women’s priorities are integrated into the SAARC agenda.
The AAWAZ Response Fund has supported 37 strategic, pilot projects addressing issues including modern day slavery and youth empowerment. These results have been derived from an estimated outreach of 10 million people in KP and Punjab.