Press Release - Launching Ceremony of Jamhori Maidan Program (JMP) – Phase II
9th July 2015
Association of Behavior and Knowledge Transformation (ABKT) launched its Jamhori Maidan Program (JMP) – Phase - II on 8th of July 2015 in Islamabad. ABKT, led by woman social entrepreneur, is a non-profit development organization. The work focus of ABKT is socio-economic and political empowerment of the marginalized communities in the under-served areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA) with a special focus on women, youth and minorities groups.
JMP Phase - II has been initiated with a focus of “Strengthened democratic system; inclusive of women & youth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA”. JMP Phase - II aims at the capacity building of elected women and youth councilors by familiarizing them with council’s rules of business and bylaws for improved services delivery, sensitizing selected journalists on gender issues to highlight women and youth concerns in KP and FATA and mobilizing citizen oversight forums (COF) for enhanced accountability of government line departments.
Distinguished political activists, political analysts and political leaders attended Launching ceremony of JMP Phase – II. MS. Shad Begum, social activist and Executive Director of ABKT shed light on women political situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. She said that the current situation of women in the region is no different than what it was in the past. They are still unable to find due space in the political process, decision making and policy formation levels. With this thought it is believed that women should be part of the process at all levels in local government setup right from casting a vote to contesting for any position and from planning to resource allocation, utilization and evaluation. In her opinion, women of deprived regions should be made part of decision and policy making at all levels. She further said that she has firsthand experience of being Tehsil councilor during 2001 to 2004. While sharing her experience of a tehsil councilors she told that women were not even allowed to participate in Tehsil council meetings and to sit next to men during that time. With these experiences she feels that its high time for us to promote these newly elected women councilors as agents of change and to make their voice heard at all levels.
Ms. Shaheen Begum a political activist from lower Dir described the struggle of women political empowerment in Malakand Division and shared that there are a lot of social and cultural hurdles for women in the region to become part of active politics. . One of the most important issues is of freely exercise of political rights of women. Majority of the Women in our areas are mostly not allowed to use their political right with their free will. While sharing the contribution ABKT made under the JMP Phase – I she shared that women in the region had no information about the Election Commission of Pakistan, its powers and functions before. With this Jamhori Maidan Program women not only learnt the roles and responsibilities of government department but it also helped them in developing their skills and capacities as well.
Mr. Amjad Hussain a young emerging leader and manager of talented youth forum from Lower Dir spoke regarding the challenges and opportunities for youth in Malakand Division (PATA). He said that yet political parties and leader have not utilized the skills and capacities of youth.
Ms. Saira Shams, District Councilor Malakand talked about challenges faced by women with disabilities in politics. She said that women are more than half of the population of the country. There is a significant number of women with disabilities in our country but still there are no supportive mechanisms available to them. She said that people with disability face problems in accessing to the facilities. She said that in our society, people with disability also face general public’s negative attitudes and social discrimination. She urged the audience to convey problems of people with disability to parliament so that their problem should get solved.
Ms. Mehreen Afridi chairperson of FATA Youth Forum highlighted the issues of youth especially the women in FATA. She while elaborating the status of women in FATA said that they are deprived off their all-social, political and economic rights. Despite the fact that they are deprived of all the basic rights even though we can witness them making effort in every walk of life. . Women do not get chance to seek for education in FATA. Women from our region should be given equal chance to play role in federal and provincial level legislature as the men have. She also highlighted the need for establishing “FATA Commission on Status of Women”.
Ms. Marvi Sirmed a renowned journalist and social activist threw light on the issue of lack of space for women in politics in KP and FATA. She shared that problems of women and youth are similar yet different in this very region. She explained that their problems are similar in the sense that both are kept away from opportunities but the women are kept disenfranchised from the mainstream of development process. Women in FATA lack representation at decision-making levels in all walks of life. She further added that political parties need to put a dent on patriarchy in FATA. Women in FATA need to form political wings of parties and hold them accountable by organizing themselves on local level.
Ms. Miraj Humyun Member Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and member of Provincial Women Caucus shared the role of Provincial Women Caucus (PWC) for political empowerment of women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. She shed light on the roles and responsibility of Provincial women caucus. She said that in recent times significant women joined the political domain but overall not a big difference has been made over the years. PWC should gather women in legislative institutions and link itself with women movement in province and at national level. It should also support women who are interested to participate and progress in politics. PWC is aimed at building the capacity of women in house and even outside it to mainstream their role in the development process.
All the distinguished speakers appreciated ABKT efforts for women and youth political empowerment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.