Over 1,500 women participated in a project aimed at honing their leadership skills and enabling them to make effective decisions in personal, social and political spheres. Gathered from 30 districts, some 50 women leaders shared their experiences at the concluding ceremony of the project titled “Raise Her Voice” here on Wednesday.
Civil society organisations, donor agencies and journalists were among the participants at the ceremony. “The project helped enhance my leadership skills and I can now highlight the issues and concerns in my community,” said Samina Naz, a leader from Ghotki.
Conducted by Oxfam in collaboration with Aurat Foundation, the five-year project was funded by the Department of International Development. During the course of the project, some 50,000 individuals participated in multiple project activities.
More than 156,127 (144,769 women and 11,358 men) obtained their Computerised National Identity Cards and were able to register their votes and exercise their civil and political rights. About 16,000 community women accessed government financial schemes offered during floods. About 5,370 women have been connected to micro finance institutions for loans.
In each district, 50 women leaders’ groups were involved in facilitating other women from their respective communities on reduction of violence, income generation and strengthening the governance.
The platform of the Women Leadership Groups has brought together women from all walks of life, enabling them to focus on women’s issues.
Aurat Foundation Chief Operating Officer Naeem Mirza said, “The project contributed towards women’s movement by organising groups of women leaders. These groups represent the rising social capital which has the potential to influence and correct the existing power imbalances and create more equitable and gender responsive society.”
A leader from Jhelum, Huma said, “The project has given us confidence to contest elections and to enter into the political sphere of the country.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2013.