Status: Completed Start Date: Apr 2015 End Date: Oct 2016 Geographic Coverage: Sindh Focus Area: Women Political Participation SDG Goal: 5 Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls Implementing Partner: SPO Funding Partner: Royal Netherland Embassy and Oxfam
Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) with the financial support of Royal Netherland Embassy and Oxfam implemented this project.
The objectives of this collaboration were to;
In districts Khairpur, Sukkar, Shikarpur, Larkana of Sindh province, 14000 people were educated and mobilized on themes such as basic human rights, peace, tolerance and social service.
In districts Khairpur, Sukkur, Shikarpur, Larkana, 14 citizen groups are now able to engage with local authorities and demand basic social services.
Alliances of 14 CSOs / CBOs all over Pakistan are campaigning and lobbying with federal/national assemblies and bureaucracy in Pakistan for responding positively towards international commitments and obligations for rights of citizens.
The program aimed to contribute to long-term stability in Pakistan through strengthened local and national governance, responsive to local needs on the provision of services and inclusive economic development. 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.
The achievements are following:
SPO mostly worked with existing organizations since initiation of SPO for strengthening their capacity, but in this project SPO directly intervened in community and formed citizen groups around identified issues.
No doubt training, technical assistance, creation of linkages as well as advocacy was the part of our capacity building process but in this project, all components were very specific such as, training for monitoring community based monitoring was specifically for monitoring of schemes the citizen groups achieved through their advocacy campaign with government. In addition, advocacy was also very specific around identified issues and same created linkages with government on specifically identified issues.
The project was based on good governance, community mobilization, peace and harmony. It was realized that demand side needs proper access with regular follow-ups to easily tap government resources.
To organize public dialogue to identify community issues and developed short term, mid and long term strategies with regular follow-ups in order to utilize the proper forums and tap citizen and government coordination opportunities.
The democratic process with consensus to select/ elect activist in shape of leadership, was mentionable contribution from supply side.
Well-designed advocacy campaign also provided a successful approach in raising the voice of the community at grass-root level at all administrative tiers of existing governance structure.
Promotion of culture, mysticism, space on indigenous wisdom and knowledge and folk music created harmony and peace in project intervened districts.
It was learnt that a young, competitive, well-educated bureaucrat is more cooperative and responsive as compared to those bureaucrat who is gradually promoted on seniority bases (Pakistan has two systems of bureaucracy, one appoints a person on junior position but he/she can reach on senior post due to their seniority, and second one attempts competitive examination and gets selected on senior position).
Frequently transfers of bureaucrats also create hurdles in resolving the issues.
Political influence also created hurdles that were mitigated through mobilization and advocacy initiatives based on messages of tolerance and peace through local ways.
Ambiguity of process and delays to transfer the resources and powers to local government system created hurdles in effective use of local governance structure.
Engagement of Media (electronic, print and social) was proved to be effective tools for citizens to raise their voices and influence the concerned authorities and reminded them of their duties.
Legislative members mostly extended their cooperation based on solid identification of issues and identified through process of community consultations. SPO has been with good linkages with members of parliament based on the signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with law ministry of government of Sindh aiming at arranging consultative meetings with civil society on any public affairs/ bills/ resolutions.
Selected districts of SPO (Larkana, Khairpur, Sukkur, and Shikarpur) have been politically influenced as former chief minister of Sindh belongs from Khairpur, Speaker Sindh Assembly belongs from Shikarpur, the leader of opposition of national assembly belongs from Sukkur and founder of ruling party of Sindh is from Larkana. This type of influence some time may make positive impacts because the flows of resources are high and bureaucracy as well as elected representatives’ response may be cooperative. SPO identified issues by public dialogue and political leader preferred their constituency and votes.
Local population encouraged cultural festivals as that it served the indigenous ways of entertainment and built an informal platform to discuss and follow their applications with local authorities. The format of the cultural festival was very meaningful in bringing local population, public representatives, district administration, relevant departments, Civil Society and media together to discuss openly the development and social services issues of their area. Cultural festival events prompted educating public on basic human rights, services mechanism and discussion platform for the local population.
Self-accountability increased in governance structure through informal discussion on public issues in project-based public events with local government authorities and promoted trust between citizens and the state. Public-led monitoring mechanisms increased at supply side due to the open discussion on issues in public events promoting folk wisdom and demand and supply side interaction.
Community meetings promoted internal planning in citizen group members and case of village Mehboob Mahar of District Shikarpur is quotable. Members of citizen group were able to meet the deputy commissioner of the district to show the pictures of a primary school that was shown in papers rehabilitated and renovated but on ground not functional. Deputy Commissioner took notice and ordered completion of rehabilitation and renovation of the primary school as per ADP plan.
Office bearers and members of the citizen first groups succeeded in local bodies’ election 2015 in Sindh province as local public representatives in villages of targeted districts of CF project.
Increased coordination of civil society, local government and media on local agendas of social services such as education, health, water and sanitation other issues for example MOU with PPHI in khairpur was signed.
Female participation in the planning and development has increased in targeted districts through their active participation in activities and practical applications on women specific and general issues with local authorities.
Project activities were serving as the platform between the citizen and state to discuss the issues of matters of rights and informal referral mechanism for solution of the state.
Special Accountability forums and functionality of other existing accountability forums as Ombudsman offices have been contacted for the right to information by citizen first group’s members for defunct schemes in their area.
Scheduled Cast got their application resolved for preservation of their graveyard.
Coordination increased at community level in school management committee (SMCs) Citizen Groups and funds were released for the school rehabilitation.
Policy-level gap on health and nutrition has been identified for legislation in Sindh Province with coordination of Minister of Health and steering committee health.
District level issues taken through applications were discussed at provincial level with authorities Training on Demand cycle management helped citizen groups to proceed as per due and logical processes for submission of application to the relevant authorities.