ISLAMABAD, March 27: To ensure quality support to survivors of violence and their reintegration in society Ministry of Women Development (MoWD) and Rozan, an NGO has launched a joint venture for “Capacity building of state-run women centres” here on Thursday.
Violence against women (VAW) is a complex and deeply sensitive human rights issue and service provision in this area is challenging and fraught with ethical dilemmas due to the vulnerability of the survivor, the low levels of awareness about the issues of violence in society, the lack of trained and sensitised caregivers and professionals and inadequate legislative protection.
The MoU for a three-year collaborative initiative between Rozan and the MoWD was signed in 2007 (starting from 2008) to strengthen service provision.
State recognizes the difficulties being faced in addressing VAW and has undertaken many initiatives, said the Secretary Ministry of Women’s Development (MoWD), Saleem Mahmood Saleem.
An important state initiative in this connection was the development of women centres in different cities of Pakistan to provide relief, support and rehabilitate survivors of violence, he said adding the Ministry of Women’s Development planned 25 centres, of which 21 are presently operational, he added.
He praised the idea of capacity building of the Women Canters and appreciated the role of NGOs for forefront struggle to break the silence about the issue of violence against women and also for pressing the need for legal and social reforms that can facilitate survivors of violence to lead their lives in safety and dignity.
Public-private partnership would bring relief to the women in distress. He lauded that steps are necessary for social reforms, he said.
The objective of the Rozan & MoWD partnership is to build the capacity of women centers and to ensure the provision of quality care to women survivors of violence, he said.
Maria Rashid, project coordinator of the programme talking on the occasion said “Rozan has been working with state women centers and shelters since 2000, providing on-site services such as counseling and group sessions for women”.
In 2006, based on needs assessment conducted in collaboration with MoWD and UNFPA, Rozan developed a module Â“strengthening women’s centres to support survivors of violence”, covering topics such as self-awareness, VAW and gender, communication counseling skills, systems development and self-care for service providers, she added.
Talking about the project, she said, “Rozan believes that providing support and shelter to women in distress is government’s responsibility due to the wide coverage and resources with them as opposed to those with the civil society organizations; these organizations can, however, help the government in making things possible. Rozan empowers them by training and capacity-building.”
Sharing the details, the Project Coordinator highlighted the three areas around which the partnership is built. It includes trainings, standard operating procedures (SOP) and pilot project.
She said, “six sensitisation and communications skills trainings are being provided that targets around 120 staff members of the womenÂ’s centres across the country. Furthermore, a para-counselling skill trainings and follow-up refreshers are being held with 20 case managers. These trainings will equip the staff with the skill of better handling of women in distress,” she said.
She said, “MoWD and Rozan are developing a SOP manual that outlines protocols and standard operating procedures for case management, development and follow up of referrals, follow up after reconciliation cases, skills training and placement. This manual, she added, will be sensitive to survivor rights and will be based on in-depth research and consultations with stakeholders (including the centre management, the NGO management committees, women survivors, MoWD staff and related district & provincial government representatives).”
Informing about the pilot project, she shared that Â“Rozan is undertaking a two-year on-site intervention with one centre during 2008-9 focusing on providing services and support in the development of systems. This intervention includes training and capacity building of staff, the introduction of rehabilitative activities for residents and support in system development, particularly with regard to referrals.”
Following was the session of experience sharing by the representatives and chairpersons of the Women Centers across the country.
They emphasized the need for strengthening these centers, and also sought security for the survivors, which was crucial according to them. They also demanded revamp of WC with MoWD.