In connection with International Women’s Day, Aawaz II programme of the British Council organised an Experience Sharing Forum in the federal capital to share and applaud the contributions of women and girls in addressing gender inequality and highlighted the significance to digital inclusion of women.
The forum brought together stakeholders including representatives from the British Council, British High Commission Islamabad, government organisations, civil society, and community leaders to exchange their diversified experiences of addressing modern day issues and capitalizing on greater opportunities of a transformational behavioural change for social inclusion of vulnerable groups.
The speakers at the event explored ways to raise awareness about the digital rights of women and girls; making the digital space safe for them and highlighted Aawaz II experiences to address exclusion and intolerance.
Dr Yasmin Zaidi, Aawaz II Team Lead, in her remarks, said, “Aawaz II works to address discriminatory gender norms in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She added, “Aawaz II Village Forum is the heart of the community engagement component of the programme, which works to ensure engagement of both dominant and marginalised to support the behaviour change to address the harmful practices such as gender-based violence, child marriage and intolerance.” The programme is working in 37 districts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to address gender-based violence, child marriage and intolerance.
Rabiya Javeri Agha, Chairperson, National Commission on Human Rights appreciated the efforts of Aawaz II for addressing gender-based violence, child marriage, and intolerance with the support from civil society partners. Ms Javeria stressed on enhance engagement between duty-bearers and communities for promoting social inclusion and rights of vulnerable groups.
The three-day experience sharing forum also included panel discussions and presentations related to United Nation’s theme on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023 (IWD 2023) – “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”. Experts including Sadaf Khan from Media Matters for Democracy, Mosharraf Zaidi from Tabadlab and Usama Khilji from Bolo Bhi highlighted various aspects to facilitate women inclusion in virtual space and strategies for reducing gender gap.
Aawaz II aims to change behaviours and increase citizen-state engagement to promote a transformational change towards harmful practices of child marriage, gender-based violence, exclusion, exploitation and intolerance. The programme has reached over 30 million individuals with its interventions and communication campaigns on behaviour change.
Aawaz II programme of British Council is being implemented in selected districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab with support from Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).