Gender-based violence is a pervasive and general issue affecting all socio-economic and cultural groups throughout the country which instils a great toll on both individuals and society at large. As compared to the cosmopolitan cities of Pakistan the issue prevalence is much high in cultures where male domination is still followed religiously and is considered as an unquestionable domain. Out of such clans “Pakhtoons are highlighted the most for controlling and confining their women in the name of honour and religion while depriving them even from the basic necessities of life.
Considering KP (Pukhtoon hub) and the prevalence of GBV in the area inferred from different secondary and primary data sources; ACT in collaboration with Caritas initiated a social mobilization intervention along with advocacy efforts to reduce tolerance of general community towards GBV in three districts – Mardan, Swabi and Nowshera. The organization along with sensitizing the general community also upgraded the intervention by establishing a toll free GBV helpline – BOLO at Directorate of Social Welfare Department Peshawar. Consequently now in the extended phase of the same program ACT established Mobile Crisis Unit based in Social Welfare Department Peshawar that has linked with BOLO helpline and other relevant government and non-government service providers in the Province. The mobile crisis unit is responsible for providing immediate response in case of any GBV related issue in Peshawar and nearby vicinity. The setup is initially run in a test phase for a period of two years and after its proper evaluation and success rate, its services will also be further expanded to other districts of KP.
A National level Conference of 2 days was organized for Community Activists related to CGBV engaged with relevant partners of Caritas from Sindh and KP. Key objectives of the conference included exchange of learning, appreciation and recognizing determination of CA’s; present successes and deliberate on challenges and provide exposure to CA’s. The summit contributed in defining innovative ideas and strategies for public and private sector for reducing tolerance against GBV in society at large. CA’s shared their experiences; the initiatives taken by them at different levels; the networking process and their success stories. This national summit deliberated the situation and its multi-dimensional purpose for GBV programing and the challenges faced for response services for the survivors.
The national summit concluded with national recommendations for Public and Private sector for reducing tolerance against GBV and reinforcing the agenda of reducing tolerance against GBV by integrating and synergizing the GBV programme by the support of Donors; Government; relevant stakeholders; CSO’s and NGO’s.
As per the design of MCU; handing over to the Social Welfare Department for reinforcement in terms of strengthening the coordination, integration and to avoid duplication of efforts related to service providers working in the outreach. Furthermore, improved robust referral mechanism, capacity building of government staff and service providers was achieved. Linking the support service of women desks in police station with centralized Bolo helpline to manage CGBV cases effectively. Women desks in police stations are supported by equipping them (tangible support and trainings) to be able to deal with CGBV survivors with high degree of proficiency. In this context proposed MCU handing over ceremony at Peshawar was carried out in which many government and non-government departments and officials of line department were also present.
Mobile Crisis Unit based in Social Welfare Department Peshawar is linked with BOLO helpline as main contact point, with a referral support linkage with district hospitals, shelter homes, rescue 15 and other relevant government and non-government response service providers in the KP Province. At the inception and roll out stage of Mobile Crisis Unit services it was proposed that all relevant stakeholders will be oriented about the functions as well as TORs of MCU and their specific role as relevant stakeholders. Therefore, consultative workshop for GBV relevant stakeholder on response and operation modality of the MCU was conducted. All relevant stake holders were present and they were also requested to share their suggestions for betterment of MCU. Ombudsperson of KP province also shared that she will be highly honoured to assist on any case if need arises.