Social change linked to economic uplift

Karachi: Social change is necessary for the economic lift of the nation and country, said speakers of moot.

According to details, the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund conducted the second provincial workshop on, ‘Taking SDGs to the Field’, in Peshawar. Field staff and senior management from 13 PPAF partner organizations working in KP came together to deliberate on Sustainable Development Goal 5 and discuss equity and inclusion.

Qaiser Alam, Chief Economic Analyst at the Planning and Development department of the Government of KPK was the keynote speaker. He emphasized the KP Government’s focus on promoting social change.

Miss Naseeba, Head of Communications at the Planning and Development Commission presented the initiatives taken by the Provincial Government to address SDG 5. The Commission has created a Strategic Development Partnership Framework and, a Provincial Implementation Watch Committee. Some achievements of the KP Government include creating an Office of Ombudsperson, Bacha Khan Woman Vocational Centre, passing the Domestic Violence Act 2014 and setting up a Working Women’s Hostel.

Mrs. Munawar Humayun, Chairperson SRSP said, the way to women’s empowerment is to enable them to contribute financially to their households. In return, they are given respect and power to make decisions. She emphasized that a Community Investment Fund coupled with vocational training is a powerful tool used to empower and free women from several social and cultural barriers and help create financial independence. In addition, Mrs. Humayun also noted that community members must be aware of their rights, including birth and marriage certificates, ID cards and inheritance rights within the greater society. She focused on nurturing the spirit of volunteerism to achieve SDGs.

Farid Gul Mohmand who is a Gender Based Analyst at the UNFPA, spoke about his own personal experience with gender discrimination. He focused on the vital role men play in changing the cultural expectations of women. Mr. Mohmand emphasized the need to challenge harmful cultural practices, and noted that gender equality is a shared responsibility. He made reference to the unfortunate incident during the 2012 elections and the policy in Dir and Malakand to bar women from voting. He said, women have so many responsibilities, how is it possible that we don’t give them a voice?

The workshop focused on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls vis-à-vis the indicators: elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere; recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and promotion of shared responsibility within household and the family as nationally appropriate; and ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.

Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund is playing a leading role to ensure equity, inclusion and women’s participation within the organization and amongst the partner organizations. PPAF is committed to bringing empowerment and improving representation of women, poor, youth, minorities, transsexual, migrants, and highly vulnerable individuals or with special needs, insecure and/or any other marginalized community through a transformative framework.

As part of its Gender Action Plan 2015, PPAF held the first national level retreat of social mobilizers/organizers, and credit officers of its POs, following which provincial workshops are being conducted across Pakistan. The national level retreat was a means to learn about the issues and difficulties of social mobilizers and credit officers, particularly women mobilizers and credit officers as they go about their work organizing, communicating, raising awareness, implementing work, issuing loans, and monitoring and recovering loans in the face of all adversities be it culture, social norms and values, weather, topography, geographic remoteness, or political instability.

Social mobilizers are a bridge between PPAF and the communities and bring about a sustainable change in terms of access to resources, behaviour as well as economic condition. However, bringing about this transformation is not easy, especially, for the women social mobilizers.