Fempower Interventions Promoting Women’s Political Participation
2-Day Workshop: Reflections & Planning
22-23 August 2023, Islamabad
More than 40 women leaders and 20 male allies from KP’s districts Abbottabad, Haripur, Mardan, Nowshera and Peshawar came together in a two-day workshop to reflect on achievements in women’s political empowerment under Fempower since 2019 and plan continued advocacy. They shared their experiences of using social accountability to help local women get access to better schools, healthcare, roads, etc. “A reluctant government official yielded info on stock of medicines in the BHU, we said we will use RTI to get it,” shared a woman leader from Mardan. Women leaders from Haripur shared their success in banning the use of mobile phones in OTs after they got evidence of medical and other staff taking inappropriate pictures and videos of women undergoing surgery. “Digital tools like mobile phones hv added a sinister strain of GBV,” she said. An activist from Nowshera shared their efforts to bring together Muslim and Christian families to demand regular garbage collection. “The garbage heaps could have ignited an interfaith conflict with violent outcomes. But dialogue and inclusion helped us avoid it and also led to resolving our garbage problem,” she said. A male activist from Peshawar reflected that the leadership training helped him understand that beating his wife is abhorrent, unethical and criminal. “I not only stopped my violence but encouraged my wife, daughters and nieces to advocate women’s rights. They mobilised women in KP’s LG elections in 2020-21 to use their right to vote for the first time,” he said. The participants made plans for intense citizen engagement over next four months.