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GTZ funded shelter homes for women to be set up

ISLAMABAD (November 28 2007): The Women Development Ministry has started a GTZ funded project in collaboration with NGOs to establish shelter homes for women in crisis. Sources told Business Recorder here on Tuesday that implementation of the project will be carried out in collaboration with the Department of Zakat, Ushr, Social Welfare and Women Development of the Government of Punjab.

Besides legal aid for women under its advocacy programme, the Ministry has also started lobbying for prisoners especially women and juvenile prisoners, they said.

Sources said that under the GTZ project, the ministry started working with juvenile prisoners as part of its Child Rights project, and set up a legal chamber for women prisoners inside Peshawar jail for the first time, they said.

The overall objective of the project is to substantially improve the opportunities for women in Pakistan to participate in the national development process on an equal and self-determined basis, they said.

The objectives of project are to decrease violence against women in NWFP and take measures for the legal empowerment of women, they said. The shelter itself is a part of a larger programme to create awareness on the issues of violence against women including customary violence, they said.

Sources said that the project included mass awareness campaign through media as well as sensitising individuals such as local promoters of legal rights and personnel of key institutions, they said.

They said that the women who could reside at the shelter homes include women who have suffered from various forms of violence and oppression and have been forced to leave their homes adding that this violence could be of physical, sexual, emotional or psychological nature.

The facilities of the shelter homes include a clean and safe environment where women could be provided medical, legal and psychological aid, they said. Despite constitutional guarantees of equal rights and legal protection Pakistani women continue to suffer from a lower social and legal status, mostly unaware of their rights, deprived of their access institutions that provide legal aid, housing or shelter to those in need of urgent assistance GTZ project of shelter homes is a valuable project, they said.

Sources said that it is the responsibility of the centre to co-operate with the implementation agencies regarding the development of future measurements to be undertaken and to carry out communication and co-ordination with departments of home, police, prison justice and health, they said.

Sources said that six districts are identified for carrying out research ie Abottababad, Charsaddah, Kohat, Mardan, Nowshehra and Peshawar in NWFP and Rawalpindi and Islamabad in Punjab for establishing more centres under the GTZ project, they said.

Source: Business Recorder