SMEVAWG was a three-year project funded by UNTF and Christoffel-Blindenmission Christian Blind Mission e.V (CBM) Germany recently concluded in two districts of South Punjab (District Multan and Muzaffargarh). The objective of project is to improve protection of women and girls by addressing specific forms of violence at community and family level in Multan and Muzaffargarh by end of February 2023. During the first half of 2020, project couldn’t fully perform community inclusive activities due to the COVID-19, however, after the uplifting of lockdown in July 2020, activities were fully resumed with implication of SOPs. Team started working with the community protection structures developed under the project where Bedari established more than 80 Self Help Groups (village level), 14 Community Committees (Union Council Level) and 2 District Task Forces (district level) during the project life.
The project team conducted massive number of awareness sessions on international treaties (UNCRC, UNCRPD, CEDAW) with women/girls and men/boys with and without disabilities at community level in District Multan and Muzaffargarh. Consultants trained Self-help groups and community committee member on case management and leadership. Meanwhile, Bedari formed 2 District task forces, one in each district with the purpose of surveillance of project activities and to play the role of bridge between women and girls with disabilities and key stakeholder to ensure their basic rights.
Besides this, Bedari conducted trainings of SHG members and lawyers, law enforcement officials, government representatives and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on different topics related to elimination of violence against women and girls. Likewise, also conducted training of CSOs, Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs)and other grass root level organizations on organizational management, Disability Rights, Human Rights, CEDAW, and local laws related to women and girl’s protection against violence. One media training was also conducted on gender based issues in each district.
Teams also successfully organized the activities of 16 days of activism, including peaceful walk, articles writing, essay competition, event at VAWC Multan on mass awareness of VAWG with and without disabilities. Media has been engaged throughout the year for the mass awareness on VAWG; radio station of Multan district aired 1500 awareness raising key messages while reaching approximately 4,50,000 population. Television programs and radio programs for the same purpose were also broadcasted with the support of Bedari.
In addition, we conducted dialogues with lawyers in both districts to identify the gaps in existing prow women laws, so that we advocate and lobby those recommendations with Parliamentarians for improved legislation and reforms.
In the second year of the project starting from December, the project teams kept on strengthening the already established groups by continuous coordination and strengthening liaison with the government institutions and policy makers. The project teams conducted meetings with the government institutions like National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Vocational Training Institute, Social Welfare Department and Health Department, Police Department and Violence against Women Center (VAWC) and Dar ul Amans/crisis centers. Quarterly meeting of district task force (DTF) was also conducted in March, 2021.
In addition, besides this, more than 100 women with disabilities were facilitated to go through medical board verification so that they can get their disability certificate. After getting the disability certificate 50 women have received their special CNIC. This process of getting CNIC remained a big challenge for the teams because of the less frequency of medical board conducting.
Bedari also conducted training of the service providers and duty bearers including Lady Health Workers and staff of crisis centers and VAWC. Most importantly, Bedari conducted one-day consultation with Parliamentarians to present study done on gaps in pro women laws and to work closely with law makers for making all pro women laws inclusive.