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NGO plans over 24,000 events by March

ISLAMABAD – In order to mark the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’ the civil society activists have embarked upon a countrywide campaign aimed at creating a fundamental shift in the attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violent practices against women.

Oxfam, a UK based organisation, along with other partners has launched activities across the country on the occasion of ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’ which is being observed today (Tuesday).
The 1,000 events per district are a part of 0xfam’s nation wide campaign ‘We Can End Violence Against Women’ which was initiated in 2005. ‘We Can’ campaign is about change in attitudes and beliefs of people through simple and small actions in their daily lives to end violence against women.

Spread over 127 days (Nov 25,2008 to Mar 31,2009), the 1,000 events per district covering two dozen districts consist of seminars, rallies, fun fairs, interactive dialogues and meetings with community members, theatrical performance, debates in educational institutions and many other activities.

While speaking at the occasion Oxfam Programme Manager Farhat Sheikh said if the Parliament approved Domestic Violence Bill, it would play a significant role in protecting those who experienced domestic violence.

She further informed that according to the Asian Development Bank, 85 per cent women in Pakistan have experienced violence at some time in their lives, which mar all aspects of their well being. She informed there would be more than 24,000 events arranged by the Change Makers themselves.

She said it was expected that about 500,000 people would be directly or indirectly touched by these events in Pakistan. “Although our message touches every one, yet its focus is rural and semi-urban population which needs to be mobilised to undo those taboos and customs which promote anti-women attitudes,” said Iftikhar Khalid, Country Director Oxfam. He said these events would take place on districts, where the incidents of gender-based violence were high.

A documentary was also screened at the occasion that reflected miseries of women in different societies. To end gender based atrocities and discrimination, Oxfam GB launched ‘We Can’ campaign in 2004 in six countries of South Asia. This is an ally-led national level campaign, which engages 400 national allies. An individual becomes a “Change Maker” when she/he pledges to refrain from violence in her/his own life and to convert ten other people to become “Change Maker”.

Currently 144,000 volunteer men and women Change Makers are working with the campaign to curb gender based discrimination and crimes against women.
Source: The Nation
Date:11/25/2008

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