“Voice for Rights” October 2008
carried out an extensive
Plans & Budget exercise
this year. The main feature
of the process was in
participation at the grass
roots level, improved
coordination and input by
the DA partners, and P & B session in progress
complete alignment of the
P & B process with the
organisation's strategic priorities. In this connection, clear guidelines
and strategic direction was provided by the CD unit and Finance
department so that a smooth, timely and intensive planning and
budgeting process could be ensured. 4
As part of the P&B process,
programme and unit managers Women speak out
conducted detailed discussions
with programme staff to Women have traditionally been suppressed
develop a common and marginalised in our society, but those
understanding of the belonging to minority groups have perhaps
organization's strategic faced the worst form of discrimination and
priorities. Programme staffs exclusion in their public and private lives.
Iftar Dinner-An excellent then shared their understanding ActionAid has taken up this issue by
team building exercise with all partners and facilitated organising and mobilising women
them in organising belonging to minority groups to fight for
Participatory Review and their rights. In this connection, ActionAid Lahore area office
Reflection Processes (PRRPs) with the communities, including conducted consultations in ten districts in Punjab and facilitated the
women, to ensure realistic and people centred planning. minority women in developing a charter of demands, highlighting
their social, economic, cultural and legal rights.
Continued on page 4
To share this charter with the policy makers, a provincial consultation
was organised in Lahore in which almost eighty five women
belonging to minority groups participated. Provincial Minister for
Human Rights and Minority Affairs Kamran Michael and Member
Punjab Assembly Amina Butter were
invited to respond to the women's
While acknowledging ActionAid's role in
providing a platform to these women, The
Minister assured the participants of his
full support and cooperation. He also
shared some of the important positive
steps taken by his ministry to address the issues of the women and
men belonging to the minority groups.
Continued on page 4
IT department has launched footprint online software in order to keep track of all IT related problems, assess the overall working
condition of the IT system, and to identify the training needs of the end users (all non-IT staffs). This software will allow users to
report day to day IT problems and queries by logging in with their unique user name and password. The IT department will not only
respond to their problems but would also organise unit-wise trainings and orientations to better equip the non-IT staffs with IT skills
and know-how. ActionAid Pakistan's IT coordinator Kamran Sarwar has been given the responsibility of supervising and providing
technical support for this software all across the Asia country programmes.
Huqooq Parchaar 1
Fisher Women Convention The participating women
demanded that the right of
A convention of fisherwomen was organised by ActionAid's partner two million fisher folk to
Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum (PFF) to highlight the problems faced by catch fish in the sweet
fisher folk community especially fisher women due to the influence of waters should be restored,
big feudal lords over water resources. and the fisherwomen
should be extended small
Hundreds of fisher women, political representatives and human rights
loans and basic facilities.
activist were present at the convention which was held at Hyderabad,
The joint resolution called
Sindh. Participation of hundreds of women from far flung areas
for action against the
exhibited their collective strength and unshakeable commitment to the
influential feudal lords and landlords, who have occupied most of the
sweet water resources and demanded framing of a new fisheries
policy in consultation with the fisher folk.
National Conference of Transgender Community
Transgender community is not only identified as a high risk group for
HIV and AIDS and other venereal diseases, but is also subject to
everyday humiliation, ridicule and harassment at the hands of the
society. It is excluded and completely sidelined from the mainstream
social processes and decision making procedures.
In order to sensitize, unite and
empower the transgender
community, ActionAid has
facilitated a group of dynamic
and active transgender people to
form a Community Based
Organization named SATHI
Foundation. In September 2008,
a National Conference of
Transgender community was
organized in Lahore in which transgender community from across the
country participated. It was for the first time that these people were
able to voice their opinions, concerns and problems, and share
experiences with one another. Continued on page 4
United we Stand!
ActionAid Pakistan in
“Peace for a prosperous Pakistan” collaboration with partner
This was the key slogan of a Workers Helpline & Labor
nationwide peace campaign Education Foundation
launched by the peace portfolio of launched the first ever
ActionAid Pakistan to mark the Home based Aurat
International Day of Peace on 21st workers union.
September. The objective of the
campaign was to highlight the The union aims to mobilise
impact of conflict on the lives of and motivate the Home
the common people especially Based Women Workers for claiming their rights as workers, have
women and children, and to mobilise conflict affected people, civil access to work related facilities, just wages and social protection. The
society and youth to play their role in building a peaceful society. union comprising women workers from all across the country will
A number of activities were designed for the week-long campaign in lobby the government to sign and ratify ILO convention C-177 and
collaboration with the area offices, partners, volunteers, students and initiate social protection schemes in the informal sector.
media. Below are the highlights of the campaign:
This initiative is a milestone in the women's movement in Pakistan
Our Team in Bagh (AJK) in partnership with 'Press for Peace' held a and a great achievement for ActionAid Pakistan. Women workers
peace seminar in which people from different walks of life hailed the initiative with celebration and festivity and termed it “A
participated. Continued on page 4 big breakthrough” towards their goal.
The union had its first planning meeting at ActionAid Country Office
in which members were assigned roles and responsibilities and
activities and budget were finalised for the next year.
2 Huqooq Parchaar
“Burial of five innocent women alive in
Balochistan”- ActionAid response
ActionAid Pakistan has condemned the reported
brutal killing of five women in Balochistan
province in the name of tribal honour. As
women's groups held street protests against
"honour killings" in several cities in Pakistan,
ActionAid, Karachi office in collaboration with
Pirbhat Women Development Organization
organized a seminar and peaceful protest rally at Hyderabad Press
Club to condemn the barbaric act. Dozens of women activists, civil
society organizations of Hyderabad and adjacent areas, political
workers, writers, and community women from Shikarpur, Jacobabad
and Shadadkot participated in the rally. Holding placards in their
hands they chanted slogans against the Jirga system that
institutionally victimises women, and demanded decisive action to
bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.
Ashezai- a successful woman farmer
Like other parts of Pakistan, women are an integral part of the agriculture sector in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). From land
preparation to crop production, women are involved in all steps such as sowing, harvesting and storage of the produce and seed for future
usage. Though involved in arduous tasks such as weeding the fields and cleaning the seeds, women are not included in decision making
regarding what to sow and how to utilize the money earned from selling the crop. Their work is unrecognized and they are referred to as
“women who work on the land” not “farmers” by fellow men.
These women possess indigenous knowledge about agriculture particularly seed preservation, sowing and harvesting. In order to capitalize
on this knowledge and to help local women get themselves recognized as farmers, ActionAid in partnership with Community Development
Organization started the seed bank project. Women were provided with seeds to sow on the condition that they would return 28kg of seed
instead of 25 Kg (3 kg more for the seed pool) when the crop is harvested. This has resulted in developing a pool of local seed for
sustainability of this programme and has also provided increased and better yield for the women farmers. (100kg per acre increase in
productivity after the use of local seed).
Continued on page 4
Dialogue on Bonded Labour
To commemorate the decision against 'Peshgi' (bonded) labour
system by Supreme Court of Pakistan on 18th September 1988,
Pakistan Bhatta Mazdoor Union (Brick Kiln Workers Union) and
Action Aid Pakistan jointly organized a dialogue on Bonded Labour
More than 50 representatives of trade unions and Brick kiln workers'
groups from different districts of Punjab and Government officials
from the Labour Department participated in the dialogue.
The Brick Kiln workers demanded that they should be paid fixed
wages so that they do no have to take advance from the owners, Consultations on “Seed Issue”
which leads to their perpetual exploitation. Government should
regulate their wages and issue them social security cards, Legal Aid Ministry of Food Agriculture &
Centre of the labour department should be made accessible and more Livestock (MINFAL) has proposed
effective. District management, police, media and trade unions should “Seed Act 2008” and “Plant Breeders
work in coordination for protecting the rights of Bhatta workers, and Rights Act 2008” with the aim to regulate
equal representation of Brick Kiln workers should be ensured in the the seed business in Pakistan. According
District Vigilance Committees. to the proposed acts, multinational
corporations (MNCs) would have a
greater control over seeds which would
likely force the poor farmers to resort to MNCs to buy seeds or pay
royalty to them every year.
In this background, ActionAid organized a series of consultations in
the four provinces to raise awareness among small farmers on seed
issues and lobby the government to make pro-farmer amendments in
the proposed acts. As a result of the successful consultations,
Provincial Ministers for Agriculture and parliamentarians invited
ActionAid to submit proposal for the required amendments to the
ministry of agriculture. They assured ActionAid of their support and
cooperation in this regard. Building up on the recommendations and
demands of the small farmers during the consultations, ActionAid
Pakistan's Food Rights portfolio is actively working on developing
the said proposal.
Huqooq Parchaar 3
Planning ahead… Continued from page 1 “Peace for a prosperous Pakistan” Continued from page 2
After thorough planning and budgeting process at the DA and area Jaag Welfare Movement in Rahim Yar Khan organised a Press
office level, an exhaustive P & B session was carried out at the Conference and Seminar titled “What are the main hurdles in
country office in which the Programme Managers presented world peace”. Students’ speech Competition was organised on the
consolidated budgets of their DAs and area offices, while the policy topic “Role of youth in peace building”.
and women rights managers shared their thematic plans and budgets.
Projected income from project funding and sponsorship for the year Pakistan Welfare Society, our partner in Layyah (Punjab) organized a
2009 was also shared with the participants. This was followed by an seminar at Union council Choubara titled “Between Women's Right
interactive learning session to analyze the weaknesses and strengths and Traditions: The dilemma facing women in Pakistan today”.
of the process and develop a meticulous action plan. In Bhakkar (Punjab), our partner Awam Dost Foundation organized
a Speech Competition in Government Boys High School Panjgrai and
An account of the engagements at National & International Level, a poster competition in Government Girls High School Kahawar
Risk Matrix development and Monitoring to Improve Programme Kalan.
Quality and Planning were also part of the P & B exercise.
Area office Lahore actively participated in the peace campaign
and organized a “Peace Convention" by involving students of
Women speak out Continued from page 1
schools and universities. A documentary film (made by a human
An important outcome of the consultation was the formation of a 15- rights activist) featuring the plight of internally displaced people
member Minority Women Core Group that will further work for of Bajaur as direct victims of conflict and war was screened at
achieving the rights of minority women. this occasion.
Another important event was a media consultation, “Peace is
Another milestone for minorities in Punjab is the formation of possible through youth” organized in collaboration with Chanan
Scheduled Caste Rights Movement, supported by ActionAid. This Development Association in which over 150 students belonging to
movement is actively working for the rights of the minorities and different religious and social backgrounds participated.
fighting exclusion, discrimination and marginalisation.
Similarly In Peshawar, Gujranwala, Kasur and Faisalabad, ActionAid
organised youth activities in collaboration with Peace Foundation,
STANCE, Good Thinkers Association and STAR respectively.
During the campaign, students and youth were encouraged to write
peace messages on banners which were to be displayed and shared
with wider civil society, media and policy makers during the Wrap-up
session in Islamabad. However due to tense security situation in the
country, the event has been postponed till the end of October 2008.
In the meanwhile, Peace portfolio is actively working on developing
a short documentary film featuring the impact of conflict on the lives
of ordinary people, and citizens' role in peace building. The film is
expected to be launched and screened at the culmination session of
the peace campaign.
National Conference of Transgender Community Continued from page 2
The first ever National Conference served to educate the transgender
community about their rights. It also mobilised and motivated them Flood 2008 Continued from page 5
to demand their entitlements as equal citizens, equal human beings.
collected data of affected people and prioritised poorest of the poor,
women headed households and landless people to receive the relief
ActionAid will work closely with SATHI Foundation to further
packages, which comprised ration (food), bedding & kitchen utensils.
strengthen this network and develop it into an enduring platform for
transgender community's awareness raising, education, mobilisation
AO team closely monitored the relief activity to ensure accountability
and transparency. Case studies and people's feedback was collected to
assess the impact and success of the intervention. After responding to
people's immediate needs, we also facilitated them in reconstructing
Ashezai- a successful woman farmer Continued from page 3 their homes, build boundary walls and adopt precautionary measures
against further damage.
“Our forefathers used to manage the entire cropping cycle from
sowing to harvesting and seed storage for the next season. This By Ziauddin Abro & Shazia Hina
practice has diminished over time and now we have to take loan from
the landlord to purchase seeds and fertilizers from the market. A
large portion of our income from the crop goes in settling this credit
and we are left with nothing to support our families”. Says Ashezai,
mother of 6 , from village Pirtab Banda , Swabi District (NWFP).
Ashezai received 25kg of wheat seed from ActionAid, free of cost,
on the condition that she would return it upon harvest. She says, “I
took seed from ActionAid and motivated 9 other women to grow it on
my husband's land. It was a big challenge for us. Our men ridiculed
the idea saying that the seed would not grow. We thank God that our
produce was more than what my husband and sons got. They were
impressed with our knowledge of agriculture and now they consider
“The first thing I did was to return quality grains back to ActionAid
pool to be given to other women. I can use my produce as I desire”,
says Ashezai looking at her husband Munfat Khan who smiled and
said, “Yes, it is her right”.
By Aqsa Khan
4 Huqooq Parchaar
After incidents of Tsunami, and Pakistan Earthquake 2005, the world focus has changed from
Flood 2008 Response to Risk Reduction. Pakistan is situated in disaster prone region. Most of its areas are either
situated on Earthquake fault line or prone to recurrent droughts. Riverside areas experience severe
flooding in monsoon season while coastal belt faces cyclones and thunderstorms.
In 2006 Pakistan faced severe floods in lower parts of the Country (Sindh). NDMA (National Disaster
Management Authority) and Pakistan Met department declared it the heaviest rainfall in last 42 years.
Met department also warned of heavy rainfall in 2007. A lack of disaster preparedness and risk
reduction strategies at the community level caused massive damage to people's lives, livelihoods and
This year, as the Met department warned of heavy rains, our Karachi office
immediately started to work on Disaster Risk Reduction tools. A local
Emergency –First Action Support Team (E-FAST) was prepared in Sindh and
Balochistan development areas. A detailed emergency list of village informants and volunteers was compiled and people
were motivated to adopt precautionary measures such as shifting of livestock to elevated places, stocking of dry food
items and responding to early warning system.
This was widely practiced in Johi and
Zarin survives the flood Shahdadkot areas.
“It rained hard last night. Everything As an outcome of disaster risk reduction
was washed away with the flood. I am strategy, communities in Sindh and Balochistan
only left with this Burka (veil gown) to development areas were able to safeguard themselves against heavy
keep myself from getting drenched.” rains and flood.
Said 70 year-old Zarin Taja, a resident
of flood affected village Patwar Payan, However, in Peshawar area unexpectedly severe rains did cause
union council Mathra District Peshawar (NWFP). A widow, living in a massive flood, posing a serious challenge to the communities and
small shelter with her three daughters-in-law and grandchildren, Zarin emergency workers alike.
Taj works alongside her daughters-in-law to run the household. She
has no land to cultivate and no source of regular income. Immediately after the flood hit the area, ActionAid Area office
Peshawar made quick damage assessment and selected the worst hit
She shared her story with ActionAid as she came to collect her relief union council Mathra for the relief work. Concerned government
package after the flood hit her village and there was nothing left to officials, Relief Commissioner, and district coordination officer were
eat. Her house had been washed away by the heavy flood. She kept in loop to avoid duplication of relief activities. Our
received a temporary shelter by an NGO in which her extended family Implementing partner Blue Veins (Peshawar based organization)
could barely fit in. Collecting her eatables and blankets from Continued on page 4
ActionAid, she seemed happy and said “at least now we'd be able to
fast in the holy month of Ramadan. May Allah bless you”.
A Burning Issue
By Shazia Hina
“Balochistan is a burning issue and we must address it as a matter
of priority” said one of the participants of a consultation organized
by ActionAid on the Crisis of Balochistan. The purpose of the event
was to analyse the Balochistan issue from various perspectives,
identify the causes and challenges, and suggest possible solution to
To ensure a balanced discussion and equal participation from all
stakeholders, government representatives, Baloch political leaders,
journalists, students, civil society representatives and concerned
citizens were invited to reflect upon the various angles of the issue
and exchange suggestions and recommendations.
At this occasion a delegation of Baloch political leaders and
journalists presented a charter of demands before the house which
was formulated through a consensus of various segments of Baloch
society. It demanded that the government ensure Baloch people's
participation in decision making at all levels, make efforts for an
early resolution of the issue of Internally Displaced People and
ensure equal opportunities for education and employment for the
Huqooq Parchaar 5
Heart-breaking Discrimination society to allow such humiliation and discrimination victimise an
innocent young child. It is because of these discriminatory behaviours
that most Hindus in Rahim Yar Khan, adults and children, are
How important is “rights based approach to development” in a
situation where poverty and deprivation predominate and preoccupy
the minds and spirits of the poor people?
I am glad to see that
ActionAid is addressing
How can one advocate and stand for human rights in an environment
this issue on a priority
where people are suffering from constant hunger, ill health and lack
basis. We have managed
of basic necessities such as shelter and clothes?
to open very effective
literacy classes for adults
How can people respond to calls for group mobilisation, organisation,
and children. We provide
association and networking, while they are abused and exploited by
skills and vocational
training for women;
facilitate communities to
These and other similar
have access to health,
thoughts lingered in my mind
water and sanitation
as I made a visit to Rahim
facilities and open up a platform for dialogue and debate on
Yar Khan Development Area
discrimination, exclusion, peace and inter-faith harmony.
(DA) in May 2008. The DA
takes pride in its substantial
work on minorities' rights Many people I met and interacted with gave a positive feedback
especially addressing about ActionAid's work in Rahim Yar Khan. They were pleased to
discrimination against local see the little positive developments; however, we now need to focus
Hindu communities. I went to on transforming institutional constraints, systems and policies that
a village a few kilometres allow undignified and discriminatory social relations to continue. It is
away from Rahim Yar Khan important to address gaps in governance and discriminatory attitudes
where Hindus are living at the margin of the local communities. They in educational institutions. We should increase our investment in
are denied their right to own land or property in the neighbourhood. strengthening poor and vulnerable peoples' groups, associations and
networks. ActionAid's good name and credibility in the area must be
“Once a Muslim landlord beat up a Hindu boy for talking on the utilised to support and link people's struggle to the political
mobile phone while passing in front of him on his bicycle. He thought it leadership and policy makers. Only this way, we can address the long
to be disrespectful so he “punished” the boy and took away his mobile standing issues of discrimination and exclusion that have eroded the
phone, told the DA coordinator as I listened in utter disbelief. He lives of the poor people for decades.
shared that he was once asked by a hotel manager to pay for the cups By Fikre Zewdie
and plates used by a Hindu participant during a Training Workshop in
Lahore. “Our customers refuse to eat in plates that have been used by
Hindus. You should have informed us beforehand that a Hindu would
be coming to your training.” The hotel manager had said. ActionAid Pakistan in collaboration with
partners, alliances of farmers and landless
On my way to another village, a Hindu activist, Sukh Dev, invited us peasants’ networks on food rights, land rights
to show his three square meter office where he collects and writes movement and women’s organizations is launching
stories about his people and the situation in which they live. As we
sat and talked, he sent his colleague, Ramesh Kumar, to bring us tea HungerFREE Women Campaign
from a nearby tea stall. Ramesh came back with a thin plastic bag on
filled with tea. He was struggling to keep his hands from burning. A th
World Rural Women Day, 15 October, 2008.
rather risky way to serve tea, I thought, until I was told that the tea
stall owner did not want Ramesh to touch the kettle and teacups. “If
you touch them, they would need to be thrown away and replaced” ActionAid will facilitate Charter Journeys from
had been the warning from the tea stall owner. village to village which will fuse at the provincial
level and the final culmination will be in the form
We went to two other villages where we met 5 to 14 years old
children having literacy classes supported by ActionAid Pakistan. I
of a joint National Convention in Islamabad.
was amazed by the speed of the teaching and learning going on in
these literacy centres, and the neat handwriting and fluent reading Join the thousands of women as they unite to
skills these children had acquired in just four months! demand an end to the food crisis
Despite having two government primary schools in the vicinity,
Hindu children prefer to study in ActionAid's literacy centres due to Join the charter journeys, send a solidarity
discriminatory and offensive environment of the government schools. message or share a thought
“My teacher let all other children drink water from the glass while I
was told to drink from my hands. I felt ashamed. I do not want to go Visit www.actionaid.org/pakistan for details
Design & Printing: Media Mind Soft
back there”, shared a seven-year-old boy who had left government
primary school to join ActionAid's literacy centre. It is a shame for a
Country Office Karachi Area Office Lahore Area Office Peshawar Area Office
House No. 8, St. 31 D - 70 / II, Block 9, Clifton H. No. 258-A H. No. 75-A, St. 6
F-7/1, Islamabad Karachi- Pakistan Wazir Ali Road, Upper Mall, Defence Officers Colony
Pakistan Tel: +92-21-5864806 Lahore-Pakistan Peshawar - Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-2611617 Fax: +92-21-5361375 Tel: +92-42-5764205 Tel: +92-91-5278616
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6 Huqooq Parchaar