The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, with a Gender-related Development Index ranking of 125th out of 169 countries, and a Gender Empowerment Measure rank of 99 out of 109 countries.
Gender, gender mainstreaming, gender empowerment and gender equality are currently fashionable concepts in the social development sector of Pakistan However, the actual amount of attention, responses at the policy, services, legislation, community levels, and the outcomes and impact of initiatives remain open to question.
Gender-based violence is a pervasive and systemic issue affecting all socioeconomic and cultural groups. It is germane to deconstruct the usual approaches to address gender-based violence in the particular context of Pakistan.
In the operational context of ACT’s program outreach, due to number of project interventions as well as policy engagement, some significant changes in the external environment related to the demand and supply emerged during last two years. The provincial government with the slogan of New Pakistan found comparatively more responsive and accommodative for innovation and addressing the issues related to women empowerment and Gender Based Violence in province of KP. As a result, institutionalization of helpline (Bolo helpline) by government of KP has created tremendous demand of service and impels the department to further strengthen the referral mechanism as well as integrate its services with public and private partners working in the province of KP to create synergy and avoid duplication.
The current wave of violence against children and women further compounded the need of discourse both at local, provincial and national level among different segments of society to create meaningful influence on policy makers and try to improve the implementation at grass root level. Therefore, propagation of GBV issues and their impact is highly significant to propagate across the province to improve response against GBV survivors.
The police reforms in KP government allow multi stakeholders to contribute in strengthening the areas of GBV response within police. The enabling environment and meaningful engagement with police improves the understanding of police officials about GBV and its mitigation. Therefore, the high officials of police department is keen to strengthen the capacity of department both at management and police station level related to how amicably able to respond GBV survivors as first contact after the incident. Thus, consistent training of police officials and their exposure to such successful models help them in responding GBV issues in their domain.
The strategic partnership is an emerging need between NGOs/INGOs and relevant government departments who have the mandate of women empowerment and protection of women at large. This engagement has multifaceted impact in terms of building mutual trust, pooling resources and sharing capacity and skills for a common agenda of “how to reduce tolerance against GBV”. Therefore, project is deemed for such strategic investment particularly with SW & WE, police, judiciary and media.