Welcome to the latest edition of Rutgers WPF’s e- newsletter. Find out about the challenges, expectations and improvement in sexual and reproductive health and rights of youth and women in Pakistan.

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International Exposure of Life Skills Based Education

Ms. Mary Meghan Davidson Ladly, a Canadian journalist, visited schools in Karachi Rural that are teaching Life Skills Based Education on November 14, 2012. Ms. Ladly is writing an article about Life Skills Based Education being provided in Pakistan. She visited Baloch Elementary School, Shahbaz Fellowship School and Government Girls Secondary School to get a better understanding of LSBE being taught under Hamara Kal. She discussed the curriculum and its impact with the teaching staff and visited different classrooms. She spoke with the students about the textbook material, with particular focus on HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B & C. Senior journalist Qazi Asif of WAQAT TV channel and reporter of DAWN News also accompanied with her.


Adolescent Girls Leadership Summit

With the last quarter of 2012 the project Aagahi se Aagay has come into the closing phase. This period marked quite important events in both project districts. Among these events Adolescent Girls Leadership Summit remained incredibly exciting for the students, teachers and parents. The daylong event for adolescent girls ages 13-15, was meant to provide them an opportunity to live up to their best potential by offering them social skills and placing special emphasis on leadership and girls empowerment. Rutgers WPF and the partner organizations SAFWCO (Sanghar) and Bargad (Gujranwala) co-organized the Adolescent Leadership Summit with 165 selective girls’ student of both districts.

The second AGLS in Hyderabad remained a huge success in terms of students’ participation and winning their parents trust. This time the second AGLS held on Dec 11, 2012 at the Indus Hotel Hyderabad with 90 selective girls students of 10 schools from district Sanghar. The project team of SAFWCO reported that the parents have been showing great confidence and trust after the first AGLS carried out in Hyderabad. The parents, who earlier were not convinced for their daughter’s participation in the first Summit, have this time encouraged their daughters to go and attend the second leadership summit at Hyderabad.

Similar event was carried out in Lahore with 75 girls’ students who came all the way from Gujranwala to participate in the leadership summit organized at the Punjabi Complex. Many high profile women achievers were invited within the respective events of both districts to motivate girls by sharing their success stories. Girls asked many interesting questions from the women leaders about their struggle, achievements and challenges they had to face during this time.

A small training session on advocacy and communication was also conducted with the girl participants who later on within small groups developed their “take home plans” of advocacy on issues pertaining to early marriages, discrimination, girls’ education, hygiene and health etc.

A policy dialogue with the officials of Health and Education departments provided the girls students, opportunity to interact with these officials and raise their concern regarding state’s plan of action on girls’ health and education. Girls raise questions particularly on the poor conditions of girls’ schools and demanded for running awareness raising schemes on hygiene, hepatitis and breast cancer.


Bureau of Curriculum Review Committee’s Visit to LSBE Schools

Director Bureau of Curriculum and Extension Wing Sindh Jamshoro, set up a committee of six members for reviewing Life Skills Base Education curriculum and related workbooks taught under Hamara Kal project. The review was undertaken to gauge the inclusion of LSBE in the provincial curriculum of Sindh. The BoC Jamshoro also showed interest in visiting a couple of secondary schools in Hala.

LSBE curriculum Review Committee, Mr. Mohammad Zaman and Mr. Kamran Nawaz Deputy Director of Bureau of Curriculum Jamshoro, visited Secondary School of Matiari, on December 5, 2012, to observe how the LSBE programme works. In this regard they also conducted meetings with the teachers and students to increase their understanding of the LSBE curriculum. This is an important step forward towards achieving the aim of incorporating LSBE curriculum in the provincial curriculum of Sindh envisaged under Hamara Kal.


Media sensitization under AGE

Rutgers WPF Pakistan held media sensitization workshops with media persons in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur in December under Adolescent Girls Empowerment (AGE) Project. AGE views electronic and print media as tools to influence key policy makers regarding early marriages. The objective of the sensitization sessions is to: sensitize the media personnel on child marriage issue and related content i.e. teenage marriages and pregnancies; develop insight about the reporting (language, content etc) on child marriage issue, which can subsequently influence the audience (policy makers & community).

In AGE project Rutgers WPF intend to organize award ceremony for journalists, in which 10 excellence awards will be distributed to those writers who will write article in print media on child marriage issue and will create an impact on the community. Similarly Exposure visit will also be organized for print and electronic media journalist to make them familiar and aware of ground realities related to child marriages.


AGE- Media Conference on Early marriages 30-31 Dec 2012

Rutgers WPF under the AGE project in collaboration with the Health and Nutrition Development Society arranged a series of two-day conference on ‘Enhancing the role of Media in eradicating child marriages in Sindh’. The dialogue attracted media persons from Thatta, Sanghar, Matiari and Hyderabad districts to share their understanding on the issue.

Aiming to create a positive debate around the issue of Child Marriages in Sindh and to garner support to end this practice by involving media; Rehan Khan of Rutgers WPF Pakistan introduced ‘The puppet and puppeteers: an account of consultative process on child marriages’, a study conducted by Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Center, Karachi, with the support of team members of Hands. The study collected data from two districts, Jacobabad and Matiari. Jami Chandio, chief executive of the Center for Peace and Civil Society (CPCS), Qadeer Baig ( Country Representative, Rutgers WPF) and Abdur Rahim Moosvi ( Provincial Coordinator) from Hands, Jaffar Memon ( Media Analyst), Ishaq Mangrio ( Media Analyst) and other media persons also spoke on the occasion.


Annual Partnership Summit

Rutgers WPF organized the first Annual Partnership Summit (APS) 2012 on December 26, 2012 in Islamabad which aimed at sharing experiences of different national implementing organizations, by identifying key issues, achievements and exploring effective approaches to make our relationships productive and stronger with our stakeholders. Summit participants were partner NGOs, Networks, Rutgers WPF programme team and project staff.

Sessions on Youth Friendly SRHR services, Social Media-The SRHR Way, Leadership in SRHR Organizations-Learning from HANDS, Planning strategies for enhancing SRHR initiatives -2013 and ways to improve coordination and support among partners, SRHR alliance and partner organizations were held in order to meet the APS objectives.

APS being a valuable forum helped to build the synergies among partner organizations coming from various parts of Pakistan and emphasized on the message of unity and team spirit to foster SRHR movement. Besides CEOs and staff of 17 CSO partners and two networks – PGRN and Pakistan SRHR Alliance participated in the daylong deliberations followed by a social evening. Mr. Sander Janssen, Acting Ambassador, Dutch Embassy spoke on the occasion and appreciated Rutgers WPF efforts in Pakistan assuring their cooperation and support. Mr. Javed Rashid, Executive, Director Plan Pakistan lauded the efforts of Rutgers WPF and emphasized on harmonization between national and international NGOs.


schools4life celebrates life

Dance4life, a dynamic international initiative which actively involve young people and give them a powerful voice in pushing back HIV/AIDS and stigma and taboo surrounding it celebrated World AIDS Day in Pakistan through a series of events between Dec 12th 2012 – Jan 11th 2013.

Islamabad: Bedari in collaboration with the dance4life volunteers and National Youth Council members celebrated World Aids Day on Dec 15th 2012. Nearly 300 youth were engaged in this celebration. Famous youth singers, Uzair Jaswal, Alamdar Khan and Muneeb Arshad performed on the event as local ambassadors for schools4life.City FM 89 was engaged as Official Media Partner that interviewed the three local ambassadors on their show “Rush Hour” in which they were provided with a platform to discuss not only about the event but also about the project.

Multan: AWAZ celebrated World AIDS Day on 20th December, 2012 at University of Education. The celebration was carried out by organizing match among players of Pakistan Women Cricket Team, a performance by schools4life’s local ambassador, cultural dance performance by the cricket team, Song/Musical Performance by the local singers, and a quiz by National Youth Council members for HIV /AIDS awareness.

Quetta: PIDS celebrated AIDS day on 12th December in Boys Scouts Association by presenting a tableau on AIDS awareness and behavior of society towards AIDS patient was presented by the students of Wisdom Public School. NYC member Abdul Raheem presented a dynamic dance performance, young theater artists of Sanjog group performed a drama on AIDS prevention and Comraid IV a renowned musical group of Quetta also performed on the event.

Lahore: The celebration event was organized by ITA on Jan 11th 2013 at Aiwan-e-Iqbal including motivational speeches by Mr. Qadeer Baig and Ms. Baela Raza, performances by agents4change, and participation by secretary youth affairs Punjab. Mr. Naveed Raza led the event in an interactive and energetic manner which ensured maximum participation by the guests. The final performance of the day was by a renowned singer Bilal Khan which was enjoyed by students.


Child Marriage Restraint Amendment Bill 2013

(Editorial, January 2013)

In what can only be described as a missed opportunity, the Child Marriage Restraint Amendment Bill 2013, presented in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly last week, was rejected by most lawmakers.

Full story available at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/496610/child-marriage-2/


Don’t shy away from the ‘talk’: Your children deserve sex-education

(By Sehrish Wasif, Published in The Express Tribune, December 2012.)

Due to some myopic stigmas related to sexual and reproductive health rights issues in our country, parents normally refrain from discussing such topics with children. The result is that sometimes children without awareness have extreme trouble in dealing with this.

Full story available at: http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/15171/dont-shy-away-from-the-talk-your-children-deserve-sex-education//


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