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October 2008 - haqooq parchaar - Oct 2008-1

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					Huqooq Parchaar
                                                            “Voice for Rights”                                                         October 2008

Planning ahead…
ActionAid Pakistan
carried out an extensive
Plans & Budget exercise
this year. The main feature
of the process was in
depth community
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
                                                                                     concerns.

                                                                                     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 initiative




                   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
    cause.
                                                                                 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
                                                                                 organisations Women
    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
in Lahore.

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 empowerment.
                                                                              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
    us farmers”.

    “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
                                         properties.

                                        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
                                                                            the problem.

                                                                            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
                                                                            Baloch people.




                                                                                                                    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
                                                                               illiterate.
    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
    the powerful?
                                                                               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



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                                                 Developed by Communication Unit, ActionAid Pakistan




6       Huqooq Parchaar

				
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