Promoting Women Political Participation In Pakistan
Status: Completed Start Date: Nov 2010 End Date: Dec 2010 Geographic Coverage: Nowshera and Dera Ismail Khan Districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; District Multan and Rajan Pur Districts in Punjab District Thatta and Sukkar Districts in Sindh; District Naseer Abad and Jafar Abad Districts in Baluchistan Focus Area: Ending Violence Against Women (VAW)/Humanitarian Assistance SDG Goal: 5- Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls Implementing Partner: SPO Funding Partner: UNIFEM
Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) in partnership with UNIFEM reached out to flood affected districts of Sindh, Baluchistan, and Punjab through project titled ‘Strengthening of Women’s Leadership Role and Establishing Women Protection Networks in Eight Flood Affected Districts’.
The floods of year 2010 were unforgettable in the history of Pakistan, where havoc played by natural disaster from KPK to Punjab to Sindh to Baluchistan left many helpless, hungry, losing livelihood sources, and costed lives of loved ones.
In parts of the country that were stricken worst by the recent rain-fed floods, the abuse of gender based violence was overlooked adding to the disadvantage of females being the vulnerable sex face. This was because of three main reasons.
1) There was a general failure to involve women in the emergency planning processes.
2) There was a lack of respect and appreciation for women rights, and
3) There was a lack of capacity to assess and cater for the prioritized and urgent needs of the flood affected women. Given that the women.
The already marginalized segment of the Pakistani society, become the worst victims of discrimination, violence and abuse in an event of a disaster; the overall objective of this project is to seek to reduce the impact of future hazards on them. The project envisioned to harness a network of local women leaders who will in turn seek to protect women rights by ensuring their due role and integration in various aspects of disaster risk preparedness, mitigation and prevention related planning, initiatives and interventions.
SPO built capacity 250 women leaders and the official of district line agencies who later took frontline roles in 1) protecting women rights, 2) addressing women concerns in relation to their rehabilitation and reconstruction requirements (in case of occurrence of a disaster), 3) combating gender based violence, and, 4) lobbying for women role in peace keeping.
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;
1. 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.
2. 250 women leaders and the district government’s disaster management authorities (of the 8 target districts) internalized desired knowledge of gender-mainstreaming to effectively seek to eliminate gender based violence in both, pre and post disaster work – including preparedness, mitigation and prevention.
3. 8 district networks of women leaders were formed and their linkages with regional and national networks such as Ending Violence against Women Alliance, Women Councilors Network, were built for future consultation and joint actions on women rights.
SPO was already providing emergency and relief support to aforementioned districts through food packages, access to clean water, and shelter. However, through Rapid Need Assessment conducted by SPO’s regional staff, it was realized that women and children have become most vulnerable and disaster prone in such natural calamities. This project was stepping stone towards making disaster response inclusive and also making inclusive disaster mitigation strategies at district level. The project was appreciated by UN agencies and local line departments.