Editorial


Here we are with our next newsletter issue. Find out about the activities, events and improvement in sexual and reproductive health and rights of youth and women in Pakistan.

Read further to find out details…

 
  

Learning and Dissemination Forum-Hamara Kal

Rutgers WPF organized the “Learning and Dissemination Forum” following the successful completion of European Union supported project “Rights driven institutionalization of Sexual and Reproductive Health in Pakistan’ known as ‘Hamara Kal’. The event was organized in Islamabad on April 18th to share the lessons learnt and major outcomes of the 4 years of project duration with key stakeholders including members of civil society, project implementing partners and donors of the project.

Syeda Ayesha, Programme Manager SRHRE shared that the project has reached out to about 140,000 students through Life Skills Based Education in 3 districts of Pakistan i.e. Multan, Matiari and Karachi with the help of partner organizations Awaz CDS, HANDS and Aahung respectively. Mr. Shadab Fariduddin, development consultant, while sharing impact of the project mentioned capacity building manuals for CSOs, government officials, media handbooks and SRHR curriculum for students as most effective tools for sensitizing relevant stakeholders on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of youths.

Honorable Sander Jensson from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands congratulated Rutgers WPF on the successful completion of the project and anticipated undertaking similar initiatives in future. Country Representative of UNFPA, Mr. Rabby Rayyon, also spoke to the occasion and shared the importance of development projects and initiatives in improving the social indicators of the country. Mr. Imtiaz Alvi, Senior Advisor-World Bank, acknowledged the contributions of Rutgers WPF in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of youths particularly in Pakistan and emphasized that improvement in sexual and reproductive health related indicators can help to achieve broader economic and poverty alleviation goals of the country.

Honorable Lars-Gunner Wigemark, EU Ambassador to Pakistan, was the chief guest of the event. He lauded the efforts of Rutgers WPF in developing first comprehensive and culturally contextualized life skills curriculum that provides essential SRHR education to young people. He shared that this curriculum is also being used by Family Planning Association of Bangladesh as a guiding document for developing their LSBE curriculum for young people. At the conclusion, Qadeer Baig from Rutgers WPF appreciated the approval of Reproductive Health Care and Rights Act 2013 by National Assembly and urged civil society to effectively advocate for the implementation of related laws and legislations for the protection and promotion of youth rights in the country.

 
 

Aagahee say Aagay- Learning Forum with Stakeholders

Rutgers WPF organized the ‘Learning Forum’ to share achievements; opportunities and lessons learnt from the project “Aaghaee say Aagay” on March 29 in Islamabad. The event was attended by the key stakeholders including members of civil society, implementing partners, donors, media, students and teachers of the project. Ms. Ayesha Ali, Programme Manager-SRHR Education, shared that 19,000 adolescent girls and through them more than 150,000 out of school girls, teachers and parents were successfully educated on life skills, leadership, economic empowerment and gender equality in Sanghar and Gujranwala districts. She lauded the support from David and Lucile Packard Foundation, schools, district governments and implementing partners namely SAFWCO and Bargad.

Dr. Yasmeen Sabeeh Qazi from David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Mr. Sander Jannsen from Netherlands Embassy and Ms. Shahnaz Kapadia from Empowerment through Creative Integration were the main speakers of the event. They emphasized on the girls’ education and their empowerment. Ms. Samia Liaguat Ali Khan from PPAF, Dr. Talib Lashari (Member ,Planning Commission) and Ms. Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson, National Commission on the Status of Women highlighted the lack of awareness regarding SRHR amongst youth and general public and emphasized on the implementation of related laws and legislation for the promotion and protection of health and reproductive rights particularly of youths in the country.

 

MDG5B Alliance Meeting

Meeting of MDG5B Alliance was held on March 20th at NCSW, Islamabad. During the meeting, Mr. Shakeel Ahmed from UNDP and Sadia Saeed Awaz CDS/GCAP provided details on the MDGs consultative process of 2015 while Mr.Kamal Shah (FPAP) shared update on FP 2020 - London Summit. Mr. Shahzad, Chief Population P&D informed that Government of Pakistan will nominate an official delegation to participate in CPD 2013 to be held in New York from April 22-26. He invited Rutgers WPF, FFAP and MSS to be part of the delegation. Ms. Khawar Mumtaz from NSCW explained the encouraging outcomes of CSW 2013 and Mr. Qadeer Baig (Rutgers WPF) shared the planning details for CPD 2013 and Muslim Countries Initiative. Faria Ahsan from UNFPA informed that P&D Division has completed the ICPD Global Survey and shared it with UNFPA Regional Office.

 

Media Competitive Awards under AGE

Media Competitive Awards has been announced under Adolescent Girls Empowerment (AGE) project to acknowledge the commendable efforts of Pakistani journalists in advocating various stakeholders against the harmful consequences of child marriages, particularly in Sindh. This initiative has been taken to achieve the project objective of involving media to create awareness amongst communities and to advocate/influence key policy makers for increasing the legal age of marriage for girls from 16 to 18 years in Sindh. A jury comprising leading Pakistani media personnel and expert panel of Adolescent Girls Empowerment Project will evaluate the printed and electronic content to make the final decision for the award. The submission process will be initiated on April 1st for at least a month.

For more details, visit http://rutgerswpfpak.org/media-awards.html.

 

Refresher Course for 34 Volunteers of Heart Connection Team

Refresher training for 34 HCT (Heart Connection Team) volunteers of school4life project was held in Lahore on 25th and 26th March, 2013. The training was co-facilitated by senior HCT volunteers to promote a sense of ownership and belonging among the youth towards the program. The training acted as a refresher for senior volunteers and an introductory exercise for new volunteers. The facilitators were actively involved in all the training sessions and worked as a team and coordinated well. Major activities of the training included theater performances by participants, sharing myths on HIV/AIDS and “dream sharing” exercise to stress the importance of active listening and motivating peers. At the end, a final drill practice session was done followed by an evening session in which all the different components of an HCT session for combined to carry out one complete HCT session practice. At the conclusion, participants shared that they had learnt a lot and were highly motivated to proceed with the inspire sessions in schools.

 

Annual Performance Review and Planning Meeting-HARP

Following the successful completion of Phase 1 of Harm Reduction project (HARP), annual performance review and planning meeting was organized on 20th February in Gujrat to analyze the project targets achieved during 2012 and to discuss ways and strategies for improved services in 2013.

During the meeting, PME department presented a small behavioral research study on the annual project impact and planned some enhanced features for HIV prevention and support for reactive spouses and children of clients through participatory discussion. An expanded HIV prevention control strategy was discussed in which Continuum of prevention and Care (CoPC) sites will be offering advance HIV testing facilities and CD-4 Level facilities in Punjab. Project activities will be initiated in two new districts from June 2013 for HIV prevention in Phase 2.

 

Policy Dialogue on Women Protection

Rutgers-WPF, in collaboration with Social Welfare Department and SEHER (Society for Empowering Human Resource) organized a consultative meeting with policy/decision makers of Balochistan at International Women’s Day on March 8, 2013. The event was held to advocate relevant stakeholders on women protection on the basis of the main findings of the research study “Domestic Violence against Women: Prevalence and Men’s Perception in PGRN districts”. Around 30 participants, including representatives of Balochistan University, Information Department, Ministry of Human Rights, Women Development Department, Social Welfare Department, Supreme Court Advocates and Media were present at the event.

During the occasion, participants gave their recommendations to reform policy for protection of women in Balochistan. Some of these include creating awareness amongst communities on the importance of girl’s education, providing free and compulsory education for both girls and boys, presenting domestic violence bill in provincial assembly by Women Development Department, effective role of Social Welfare Department as a coordinating body for all the concerned departments, joint efforts for approval and implementation of domestic violence related legislations and formation of a journalist forum particularly focused on women social development and protection issues.

Programme Manager GBV also presented findings of the Domestic Violence Research at the forum organized by UN Women and WWD in the morning of March 8 in Quetta and shared factsheet developed by Rutgers WPF as an advocacy tool.

 
 

Muslim Countries Meeting on ICPD and CPD

To garner support from Civil society in Muslim Countries, Rutgers WPF has initiated a process for capacity building of relevant NGOs in 2012 to influence their governments instance on SRHR issues. In 2013, it was decided to pilot the initiative in 3 Muslim countries – Egypt, Lebanon and Iran.

Accordingly, Rutgers WPF organized 2 consultation/workshops on ICPD and CPD in Cairo and Beirut. First meeting was held in Cairo from 25th to 26th March in which members of 15 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) participated. Second, one day workshop was held on March 28th in Beirut in collaboration with local focal persons namely, Ahmed Awadalla, Sexual and Gender Based Violence Officer, African and Middle East Refugee Assistance, Cairo Focal Point, Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER) Global Cairo, and Ms. Genwa Samhat, member of AMEL and Y-peer member in Beirut. Representatives of 5 CSOs attended the meeting. Working groups were formed in both places and an outline of action plan was formulated for kick start process for CSOs participation in ICPD 2014 process at national level.

 

HR News

• We would like to welcome our new staff members Dr. Madiha Butt, Kanwal Shehzadi, Babar Baig, Murtaza Nawaz and Amina Sarwar to the Rutgers WPF Pakistan Team.

• Rutgers WPF staff celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th and International Day of Happiness on March 20th.

 

Corrigendum

Reference to Rutgers WPF's recently published report in 2013 titled 'The Puppet and the Puppeteers' under the 'Adolescent Girls Empowerment (AGE)' project, a correction is being made in the Executive Summary of the report.

The Executive Summary para no. 2 reading “Shirkat Gah was approached for this consultancy because our campaign on Safe Age of Marriage was already in progress and we had produced the 'Position Paper on Age of Marriage' as a part of the Committee for the Standardization of Female Age of Marriage” should be read as - SEE THE RIGHT TEXT Below

“As the consultancy was initiated by Shirkat Gah as part of Rutger’s WPF’s 'Safe age of Marriage' campaign, the 'position paper on the age of marriage' had already been produced by the Shirkat Gah and others, as part of the committee for the standardization of female age of marriage in Sindh”.

 
 

Pakistan passed the Reproductive Healthcare and Rights Act 2013

(News Coverage, April 2013)

The National Assembly of Pakistan unanimously passed the Reproductive Healthcare and Rights Act 2013 on March 12, 2013. The Private Member Bill was introduced by Hon. Dr. Attiya Inayatullah, MP. The bill seeks to promote reproductive healthcare and rights in accordance with the Constitution and to fulfill International commitments made by the Government of Pakistan under the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Full story available at:
http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=07dde6fc057e11ba724e57a42&id=09179db32f/

 
 

UN Women welcomes Agreed Conclusions at the Commission on the Status of Women

(UN Women News Coverage, March 2013)

At the conclusion of the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, UN Women welcomes the outcome of the meeting. The Agreed Conclusions are a testimony to the commitment of Member States to do the right thing, to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls.

Full story available at: http://www.unwomen.org/2013/03/un-women-welcomes-agreed-conclusions-at-the-commission-on-status-of-women/

 
 

AIDS Stigma

(Editorial, Published in Pakistan Today, April 2013.)

Generally, it is considered that Pakistan, being an Islamic country, is a low prevalence area for HIV/AIDS but when and wherever the blood screening of the people is conducted at a large scale, the picture becomes very different.

Full story available at:
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/01/03/comment/columns/aids-stigma/

 

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