AAWAZ Voice and Accountability Programme is being implemented in 45 districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; initially as a five year long programme from 2012 - 2017 funded by UKaid. Pakistan's prime civil society organisations i.e. Aurat Foundation, South Asia Partnership Pakistan, Strengthening Participatory Organisation and Sungi Development Foundation form the implementation consortium partners and are working directly at grass root level. Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) is the management organisation for implementing the AAWAZ programme.
AAWAZ voice and accountability programme strives to strengthen stable, inclusive and tolerant democracy in Pakistan by emboldening the struggle of men and women, especially those who belonged to disadvantaged groups and foster the process of state realising the rights of citizens. The programme views democracy through a gender lens, and intends to contribute to women's political empowerment, resolution of conflicts across the communities that it works with, and better public service delivery in the areas of health and education through informed and active engagement of citizens.
Between the time period of 2012 and 2017, AAWAZ will work in more than 4500 villages and urban settlements across 45 districts in the two Pakistani provinces i.e. Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). However, the PARR facility, while focusing on the districts and provinces falling within AAWAZ's geographical coverage has the national mandate for influencing policy through evidence generated by the intellectual and practical work it undertakes or commissions.
Aurat Foundation is implementing AAWAZ Programme in following 13 districts:
The Inception Phase of AAWAZ was undertaken from 21 May 2012 to 21 February 2013. The AAWAZ team accomplished five primary deliverables during the period:
Established management structures and systems;
Finalised management and implementation strategies;
Refined its M&E framework and reporting system;
Established the PARR Facility;
Launched pilot projects in seven districts.
The Inception phase had a compressed timetable of activities, but has nevertheless yielded rich insights and learning. Through constant communication, regular meetings of the AAWAZ Steering Committee and structured programme review meetings; the AAWAZ team has been able to manage programme activities and make course corrections as needed in this fast paced period, such as consolidation of multiple AAWAZ structures into larger forums which would address each of the three outputs to create greater voice and impact. As a result, the AAWAZ team adjusted its approach for the implementation phase that leads to a scale up of activities to 45 districts in KP and Punjab, covering a minimum of 4500 villages/settlements over the next fifteen months. Aurat Foundation implemented inception phase in Sargodha (Punjab) and Mardan (KP).
Activity title: Launching AAWAZ District Group.
Date: October 18, 2012.
Venue: Qís International Hotel, Sargodha.
Aurat Foundationís AAWAZ programme team launched AAWAZ District Group (ADG) for Sargodha district on October 18, 2012, at Sargodha. The participant included representatives of AAWAZ consortium partners, former women councilors, members of political parties, governmental officials, ECP and NADRA officials, students of gender departments, media persons, representatives of NGO and CBOs, lawyers and youth groups. Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Advisor to the Chief Minister, Punjab, participated as chief guest. Speakers included Ms Rukhsana Bhatti Advocate, Central General Secretary PTI Women Wing, Mr Fazal Awan, Deputy District Officer, Education, Mr Asim Malik, National Manager, AAWAZ Voice and Accountability Programme. Ms Mumtaz Mughal, Provincial Manager, AAWAZ programme moderated the event.
The agenda included orientation of AAWAZ-Voice and Accountability Programme, key role and responsibilities of AAWAZ District Group, situation analysis on womenís safe participation in political process, citizensí access to justice and citizensí engagement in public services.
Ms Mumtaz Mughal gave a detail orientation of AAWAZ-Voice and Accountability Programme, covering the following points; context and need of AAWAZ in Pakistan, AAWAZ vision, goal and objectives, brief introduction of AAWAZ consortium partners, core focus, institutional arrangements of AAWAZ, AAWAZ institutional frame work at district level and Aawaz Implementation strategy. She told that it is five-year civil society lead program. AAWAZ has a 9-month inception phase and Sargodha is selected for pilot phase. Aawaz programme would be implemented in 100 villages of 10 union councils (UCs) of Sargodha. This programme would be implemented in 5000 Villages/Urban/settlements across 45 districts of KPK and Punjab.
AAWAZ District Group (ADG) is one of the proposed institutional structures under Aawaz programme. This group is formed for lobbying, advocacy and action at the district level. This group will provide technical assistance and guidance to UC and village level structures. ADG would develop linkage with its counterparts
Begum Zakia Shahnawaz stressed upon the need for making sincere and joint efforts to overcome the menace of violence on women. She said that the Punjab government is implementing a number of development programmes aimed at welfare, uplift and wellbeing of women.
Activity title: Formation of Aawaz Women Caucus & celebrating of National Voters Day
Dated: October 17, 2012.
Venue: Qís International Hotel, Sargodha.
Aurat Foundationís AAWAS programme celebrated the National Voters Day with the formation of AAWAS Women Caucus, on October 17, 2012, at Sargodha. The participants included women leaders, representatives of political parties, lawyers, representatives of women groups of ATTs from UCs, Election Commission of Pakistan, civil society, media and representatives of government departments. The first session was moderated by Ms Aneela Qasim, Assistant District Programme Officer, Sargodha. The agenda included orientation of AAWAZ-Voice and Accountability Programme, orientation of role and responsibilities of AAWAZ Women Caucus, ensuring womenís participation in political process, womenís right to vote and celebration of National Voterís Day. Ms Sobia Mir Zaman District Coordinator AF gave an orientation of Aawaz-Voice and Accountability Programme. She also focused role of Women Causes in Aawaz programme. Ms Rukhsana Bhatti Advocate conducted a session on current political situation and role of women in politics. In the end, participants developed their action plan.
Mr Abdul Rasheed, Regional Director, Election Commission of Pakistan, was the chief guest for the second session. The speakers included Ms Qasira Ismail, former District Member & Secretary Aawaz Women Caucus, Ms Rubina Mukhtar, former MNA (PML-N), Khan Asif Khan, Political and Social Activist (PPPP), Ms Rukhsana Bhatti Advocate, Central General Secretary, PTIís Women Wing, and Mr Muhammad Saleem, District Officer, Election Commission of Pakistan.
Ms Qasira Ismail said that women caucus will create an enabling environment for the inclusion of women into political processes. She said that women cuscus should build the pressure on all political parties to highlight the women development agenda in their political partiesí manifestos.
Ms Rukhsana Bhatti Advocate said that all political parties and contesting candidates should announce their overall development programme. Ms Rubina Mukhtar said that political parties must commit to inclusion of 33% women in their general membership, as well as 33% representation of women in the decision-making bodies e.g. central and provincial executive committees, parliamentary boards etc and women within its ranks must be appointed in ECP.
Implementation Phase - Year 1 (22 February, 2013 - 21 May, 2014)
During the last year Aurat Foundation implemented the AAWAZ Programme in 13 districts which has created interest within the target groups and there is a sense of ownership of the programme now in the working areas. Multifaceted approaches were utilised keeping in view the culture and context of each target area for smooth implementation of programme. Aurat Foundation set up offices and recruited staff for 13 districts. More than 18,710 activities were being conducted at village, UC, tehsil, district, provincial and national level. The total number of members in AAWAZ forums exceeds 29,872 out of which more than 14,505 are women.
Implementation Phase - Year 2 (22 May, 2014 - 21 April, 2015)
Currently AAWAZ is in the second year of implementation.
(L-R) Mr Fazal Awan, Ms Rukhsana Bhatti Advocate, Begum Zakia Shahnawaz and Mr Asim Malik.
Begum Zakia Shahnawaz speaking on the occasion.
(L-R) Ms Mumtaz Mughal, Mr Fazal Awan, Ms Rukhsana Bhatti Advocate, Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Mr Asim Malik, and Ms Shamas Naveed Cheema.
A view of the launch.
(R-L) Ms Qasira Ismail, Ms Rukhsana Bhatti Advocate, Khan Asif Khan Mr Abdul Rasheed, Ms Rubina Mukhtar.
Ms Rukhsana Bhatti Advocate delivering her presentation.