By : Adeel Alvi
Khairpur : Marvi Rural Development Organization-MRDO- Sukkur with the support of Taiwan Foundation for Democracy is implementing a project “Women Participation for Strengthened Democracy & Protection of Human Rights” in Northern Sindh.
Recently a press conference was organised at Awami Press Club, Khairpur in which members of Women Caucus Group participated and shared their valuable inputs with media persons. President Awami Press Club Naz Solangi also shared his valuable inputs.
While talking Sughra Solangi CEO-MRDO, said after the amendments in Local Government laws, Pakistan allocated 33% quota for women to participate in Local Government Elections. But unfortunately, they could not reach at mainstream politics due to insufficient understanding on politics and socio-economic issues and also cultural barriers and structural discrimination disturbed the pace of women’s promotion in political sphere. She further said, there are several women candidates who independently take part in previous local government elections but due to low capacity they could not either win elections or grow it as a career but mostly withdraw from political participation in just a few years.
Under this project, MRDO empowered women and protected their human rights and played significant role in reducing discrimination and inequalities faced by women in the northern districts of Sindh province of Pakistan. MRDO team with the patronage of Taiwan Foundation for Democracy TFD strengthened the democracy at local level by enhancing understanding of previous and upcoming women candidates of local government and engaged them to play their significant role in the protection of women’s human rights and serving the people of their respective areas.
Saira Ahmed said Rural women play a catalytic role towards achievement of transformational economic, social and environmental changes required for sustainable development of society. The active participation of women on equal terms with men, at all levels of decision making and political involvement is essential to the achievement of equality, rural development, peace and democracy and the inclusion of their perspective and experiences into the decision-making process.
Salman Ali Manager Programs while sharing the outputs of the project said, 200 Women Union Councilors from 02 Northern Districts of Sindh are trained on local government systems, learned civic education, leading political activities and about women’s human rights, 02 Women Caucus Groups WCG are established in 02 Districts of Northern Sindh, 30 Women from 02 Districts participated in exposure visits organized for their learning purpose and 300 women Union Councilor Candidates participated in the 06 seminars for learning about the Manifesto or spaces available for women candidates in different political parties.
Deeba Gulab, member of WCG said, Rural women’s political participation and empowerment is not only essential for strengthening a nation’s democracy, their struggle against marginalization, trivialization and oppression but also key to their socio-economic development. Rural women do not have the knowledge or awareness of their legal and political rights, so they do not participate in elections and political events of their communities. Rural women are under-represented in institutions, governance and leadership, and have less decision making power.