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We were taught to carefully choose our mode of communication to effectively influence communities in a positive way and bring real change.

Reehana, Easy Approach Community Organization (EACO), Pakistan

Reehana participated in a training titled “Essentials of Social Mobilization” held in Lahore under Community World Service Asia’s Capacity Enhancement Program for local humanitarian and development practitioners in Pakistan. The training took place in August 2019 and was participated by twenty-eight staff members representing eleven civil society organizations from across Pakistan. Participants strengthened their knowledge and skills on concepts of mobilization and influencing, conflict resolution and policy development in the four-day workshop.

Employed with Easy Approach Community Organization (EACO) as a Program Manager for ten years, Reehana is actively engaged in community mobilization and management of Community-Based Organizations[1] (CBOs). She is responsible to ensure smooth implementation of projects through providing guidance and support to field staff and monitoring and reporting on the project. With over 15 years of experience in the development sector, Reehana has worked with various local and national level organizations in different capacities and found this training to be one of the most enriching personal development experiences in her career.

When I saw the contents of the ‘Essentials of Social Mobilization’ training I could not wait to attend it. The content was related to the work we are doing in EACO, therefore, I believed that the learning would be fruitful in terms of strengthening influence and bringing change in the communities we are working in,

 shared.

I have taken part in numerous trainings focused on Microfinance, Leadership Skills, Human Resource Management and Social Mobilization. But I was lucky to get a chance of attending this training workshop as the holistic approach incorporated by the CEP[2] team has been very interactive and high-yielding for me.

The two facilitators leading the training, Moazzam Ali and Nergis Ameer Khan, engaged us in developing content of the training resulting in the content being relevant to our work and nature of field activities. We also gave input in designing the pre and post training assessments to make the learning more effective and useful. The most interesting aspect of the training was identifying a need for a social mobilization policy and actually starting drafting one during the training.  EACO did not have a separate policy on social mobilization. Currently, EACO is working on the first draft of the policy and aims to take support of Community World Service Asia for review and recommendations for improvements.

After enhancing my own skills and building my own knowledge at the training, I organized a training for the fifteen field staff members of EACO. The learnings of my training with CWSA, were shared with all the participants and the team assured to implement the new techniques of mobilization in their field of work. The training provided insights on conflict resolution. Consequently, the field team arranged a community level meeting to resolve the conflict between two communities in Mohala Sadiqi Haidri Farooqabad in Sheikhupura district. There was no draining system for waste water. People in the communities were facing health issues due to the standing dirty water in the area. The conflict arose as the communities blamed each other for not constructing a proper drainage system. In the meeting, community members were mobilized to gather measurements for the pipelines to install the drainage system. The costs of installing the system were divided among the two communities and two members from each community were selected to collect the funds. The communities mutually agreed to invest jointly to build a better drainage system for both the parties to benefit from. The project of draining system was completed under EACO technical and partial financial support,

expressed Reehana.

The training allowed a systematic learning of social mobilization which consequently improved our quality of work. The communities we work in trust us more and are comfortable with our interventions. I will be happy to recommend such trainings to my colleagues and CBOs[3]as they are relevant to our work and are very useful in the humanitarian sector. These learning opportunities provide a platform to network and increase our capacities at the same time,

 concluded Reehana emphatically.


[1] Community based organizations (CBO’s) are nonprofit groups that work at a local level to improve life for residents.

[2] Capacity Enhancement Program

[3] Community Based Organizations

National level organizations are considered agents of change as they amplify community voices through awareness raising and networking. Consequently, they play an instrumental role in education and changing public opinion and often collaborate on initiatives to ensure that social development concerns of communities at local, provincial and national level are addressed.

To achieve effective sustainable change, NGOs must have the ability to plan and facilitate efficient communication processes that mobilize efforts at both the organizational and programmatic levels. Consciousness, relationship building and networking is key to enabling positive policy change in favor of marginalized communities.

Community World Service Asia conducted a five-day training on “Influencing for positive change” in Murree. Twenty-one humanitarian and development practitioners from local organizations across Pakistan, participated in the five-day residential training in December 2019. The lead trainer of the training, Aftab Ahmed Awan, is a development professional and Human Rights and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights expert with 15 years of experience in the field of development and Human Rights Programs Management, working with government, national and international developmental organizations. Currently he is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Society for Sustainable Development (SSD) in Islamabad.

The agenda of the training enabled participants to understand tools and approaches for influencing and making decisions towards sustainable change. The sessions enhanced knowledge on developing strategic approaches for the policy engagement. Participants were equipped with strategic communication plans to design campaigns for social change through policy reforms on local and national level. The training sessions applied a participatory approach, that included role plays, group exercises and discussions and kept participants engaged throughout the workshop.

The session on ‘Understanding and Contextualizing Influencing’ helped participants identify relevant stakeholders, set goals and define strategies to achieve their objectives. Influencing messages were the key highlight that tailored to specific target audiences in order to frame the issue and persuade others to support the network’s position. In group assignments, participants developed key messages for their relevant target audiences. The participants were asked to keep two key elements in mind while developing the messages, namely language and content. The content refers to the central idea of the message while language consists of the words, we choose for communicating our message.

Stakeholder’s analysis is important to build a consensus to support a network’s Influencing issue. The larger the support base, the greater are the chances of success. Group activities aided in strengthening networks to build alliances. These alliances aim to work together to achieve common goals.

Participants’ Voices:

 “The training on Influencing Positive Change was a great learning experience. Aftab, our lead trainer, an energetic and motivational person kept us engaged throughout the sessions. The participatory approach allowed us to engage, interact and learn from each other’s’ experiences.” Sardar Shahzeb Hanif, Read Foundation

“The resource person, Aftab, had a good grip on the sessions he conducted. The training was very engaging and interactive. The sessions on development of effective messages, risk analysis and mitigation strategies provided knowledge and ways to involve communities in the humanitarian actions.”  Ambreen Kanwal, Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO)

“The training was really thoughtful, and according to the needs and expectations as mentioned in the baseline and Training Needs Assessment. The activities during the training has advanced my knowledge on stakeholder analysis, behavior change communications, political analysis and monitoring and evaluation in the process of influencing for positive change.  The contents delivered during the sessions were well planned and informative.”  Dr. Muhammad Shafi, Brook Pakistan

The sessions provided ample information on policy analysis, developing effective communications skills and designing influential key messages to deliver during campaigns. The diverse group present at the training allowed experience sharing and productive networking.”  Zafar Malik. Aaghaz Foundation

“I am grateful to get this opportunity to learn and enhance my experience. The training materials were easy to understand and accessible. I am more confident now to plan a campaign for influencing and delivering positive messages for change. The sessions on power analysis, risk assessment and communication strategies have enabled me to plan campaigns on interesting topics and convey the right message. The action plans developed on the last day will help us utilize our learning and implement the tools we have learnt for effective campaigns.”  Zunaira Cheema, Youth Development Center, Punjab House

As a component of Community World Service Asia and University of Peshawar’s collaborative interventions[1], a seven-day residential training on “Interactive Theatre for Influencing” was conducted at the University’s Baragali campus in the northern hills. Twenty-four aid workers and theatre activists from thirteen local NGOs and performing art groups participated in the training.

Participants were engaged in theoretical and practical learning exercises that aimed to improve acting skills and communication, enhance abilities, introduce stage ethics and sharpen dialogue delivery. The workshop style training also worked towards introducing and enhancing script writing techniques, issue identification and performance techniques among participants.

Practice sessions of real theatre plays were conducted as part of the training to enable the participants to link awareness raising on prominent issues with their play theme and performance.  They were sensitized on utilizing this art form to deliver messages of positive social change.  The various activities of the training provided participants with an opportunity to share experiences and ideas with each other that would help them in highlighting community issues through designing interactive theater performances in the future.

During the week-long training, participants developed action plans to ensure the implementation and application of the learning and techniques they had learnt in their respective communities. The training increased the capacity of local theatre groups to use theatre as a tool to influence communities to bring about progressive societal changes and uphold their rights. Participants also learnt theatre improvisation techniques such as effective use of body language, eye contact with the audience, balancing vocals and following a rhythm during the play to make more impact. All these skills would facilitate the theatre activists with helping rural and under-priviliged communities to overcome their collective issues and inspire positive perceptional changes,

Participants Voices

Interactive theatre for Influencing was a platform where I got the opportunity to get to know myself better and look at my capabilities from a different perspective. My confidence level boosted and as a result, I participated in the group exercises without hesitation. In addition, I was able to improve my vocal and dialogue delivery, body movement and gestures.

All participants were engaged in interactive activities through which we learnt how to engage and influence the audience in interactive theater performances. We appreciate the organization and the management team for providing learning opportunities to continuously upgrade our skills and deliver the content effectively.

Mujahid Ali, Programme Manager, Bunyad Literacy Community Council

This training played a vital role in educating me about the effective ways and tools that can be used for influencing communities. Such trainings are a source for personal development and knowledge building. We learnt different tools to bridge the knowledge gap existing in communities. The training enhanced the ability to highlight sensitive and ignorant problems prevailing in our society. I aim to utilize the theater delivery techniques shared in the training to achieve our objective of a progressive and developed society.

Tariq Khan, Livelihoods Officer, Secours Islamique France (SIF)

I had no prior knowledge of theatre before attending this training. This experience provided the history, types and the importance of theatre. The activities conducted during the sessions in the training built my confidence and allowed me to effectively influence communities and encourage change to make progressive societies.  Theater in one of the most effective ways to influence communities and encourage them towards development and change.

Misbah Naureen, Training Coordinator, Institute of Rural Management


[1] Under CWSA’s  Capacity Enhancement Project supported by Bread for the World

Good leaders are made, not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience.

Jago, 1982

With over fifteen years of experience in the development sector, Muhammad Bux Kumbhar’s passion is to advocate for the rights of disadvantaged communities. As an Executive Director of a local organization named, Sukaar Welfare, Muhammad Bux works to achieve women and youth empowerment through community development and advocacy initiatives. For years Muhammad Bux has been engaged in global networking and voluntary activism initiatives with different partners on issues such as child marriages, sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, youth empowerment and gender mainstreaming. He regularly participates in social and digital awareness-building campaigns and writes proposals to implement relevant local projects.

As an active member of the District Engagement Group[1], we engage with different government departments such as Social Welfare, Women Development, Health, Education and the Police to build relationships and influence public authorities and provincial stakeholders on structures of law and policies related to women empowerment,

shared Muhammad Bux.

Finding the topic relevant to his responsibilities, Muhammad Bux registered himself for a four-day training titled, Influencing for Social Change, organized by Community World Service Asia. Impressed with the trainer’s twenty-five year national and global experience, Muhammad Bux could not contain his excitement to participate in the training.

Muhammad Bux shared that the training offered participants practical \ tools that were easily applicable in their daily work.

The training helped us understand the influence processes that can lead to achieving sustainable change. During the training, participants developed awareness-raising campaigns focused on influencing effectively through the use of different tools. We analyzed risks and sensitive features involved in designing influential campaigns,

he said.

The training enhanced the participants’ knowledge and skills on developing effective and persuasive educative campaigns that could lead to social change. Muhammad Bux was able to apply the learnings from the training to his work immediately. He said,

On my return, I modified the language of our nature of work. During our coordination campaigns, we now use new terms like ‘influencing,’ ‘networking’ and ‘liaising with stakeholders.’ I replicated part of the training and transferred the learning amongst the staff of Sukaar Welfare organization. They are already engaged voluntarily with organizational campaigns, so they understand the new term ‘influencing for social change’. I also shared my key learnings from the training to ensure more impact of the advocacy work done and to help our organization influence the communities effectively and resolve our issues with stakeholders.

Sukaar Welfare is now reevaluating and restructuring their advocacy strategies to be able to bring about more effective social change among the communities it works with.


[1] Formed under the ‘Every Voice Counts’ project, implemented by CWSA and supported by CARE International

For a zero hunger world, people around the globe should eat healthy diets, the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said in a booklet that is released ahead of World Food Day on October 16.

The goal of the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goals of meeting ‘zero hunger’, according to the document, can be met by eating more seasonal fruits and vegetables and reducing the consumption of junk food. Over 820 million people — approximately one in nine people around the world — were hungry, and malnutrition affected one in every three people, the FAO noted.

To share the learning, Community World Service Asia organized a session in the village of Padmoo Bheel Union Council Khararo Charan, District Umerkot on October 16. Fifteen men and women from the community participated in the activity. The session focused on the theme which said “Our Actions Are Our Future. Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World”. As a result of globalization, urbanization and income growth, our diets and eating habits have changed. The event generated awareness who suffer from hunger and increased knowledge for food security and nutritious diet intakes for all. Communities were sensitized on ensuring food security in households and how to avoid wasting food at home, marriage ceremonies and other communal gatherings.

Community Voices:

The session was very informative in terms of learning how to avoid food wastage and eat healthy food items for better health. New learning for me was food being our fundamental and basic right.

Janat from Padmoo Bheel village, Umerkot

It is important to make food as per the needs and number of people. Excess food often is wasted which is not good. The session shed light on how food is made excessively in communal gatherings and is wasted in large number. We will in the future make the food according to the need and number of people.

Ranjeet from Padmoo Bheel village, Umerkotet

Hira Gul has worked in Pakistan’s development sector for more than 10 years. As a Community Mobilization Officer, Hira works with LASOONA to mobilize communities around improved livelihoods, governance reforms and health in Thana in the Malakand District. Her job is busy and multifaceted—she conducts sessions on developing market linkages, skill development, water and sanitation, inclusive development, improved governance, women’s empowerment and much more—and she is always eager to learn how to better support the communities she serves.

When Community World Service Asia announced the “Essentials of Social Mobilization” training, I immediately showed interest in attending the workshop as I was eager to learn modified and effective processes of social mobilization,

she shared.

Hira was one of 22 participants from five national nongovernment organizations who gathered in Peshawar in March 2019 to enhance their social mobilization skills to raise awareness of and demand for a particular development objective through dialogue. Lead Trainer Muazzam Ali, a seasoned expert in community mobilization with CWSA, facilitated the four-day training workshop on practical skills for successful social mobilization.

The training enhanced our understanding of social mobilization as an approach. We learnt the key elements and the true role of a social mobilizer. Basic communications skills, ethics and tools were provided for successful mobilization processes. Moreover, the training taught us how to manage community expectations and keep them engaged through the project life cycle, 

Hira recalled.

After the training, Hira said she was able to use the learning right away, including actively implementing the Do No Harm Policy while engaging communities in project activities.

In addition, through rapport building with women, I gave a session on the Do No Harm policy and mobilized them towards the outcomes of the project. This way the project participants are provided assistance with dignity and safety.

She also found the training useful in managing an ongoing conflict in communities she supported. Under LASOONA’s Governance Reform project, two communities in Union Council Miadam in Swat were engaged in a conflict in relation to Community Physical Infrastructure (CPI) Schemes. Thanks to Community World Service Asia, Hira managed to resolve the conflict through her learning she gathered from the session on Conflict Resolution.

Local level organizations engage the most crucial, unreachable areas of a community, empowering it from within. They enable community members to enhance their own and others’ capacity to create waves of social change. One way Community World Service Asia supports local organizations in their grassroots efforts is to equip them with effective strategies of social mobilization. These strategies assist communities in contributing to and participating more productively in social, economic, politico-legal and decision-making fora to improve the lives of the most vulnerable.

Bringing Social Mobilization to Communities Through Training

Community World Service Asia’s Essentials of Social Mobilization training workshop aims at enhancing social mobilizers’ skills to overcome existing barriers in communication, performance and engagement with their target communities.

CWSA conducted this training at the Department of Social Work at University of the Punjab from August 28 to 31, 2019. The training engaged 28 social mobilizers and staff members from 11 local organizations in various theoretical and practical learning experiences to enhance their social mobilization capabilities. Participating organizations included Médecins du Monde, Helping Hand for Relief, The Brooke Hospital for Animals Pakistan, Easy Approach Community Organization (EACO) and Forum for Language Initiatives.

The training helped the participants to develop an understanding of:

  • the essential traits of a social mobilizer;
  • how to use effective tools of communication;
  • the steps for enhancing community engagement;
  • how to identify the root cause of an issue in a community;
  • how to disarm myths and stereotypes and employ cultural and contextual strategies to overcome challenges; and
  • project management and problem handling.

The training employed a mix of activities, energizers, group discussions, indoor and outdoor role plays, innovative use of audio/visual techniques and daily reinforcement to support learning. It also provided an opportunity for the participants to share their experiences and success stories with their peers, which helped them to develop a sense of trust and confidence, strengthening the group work dynamics.

By the end of the four days, with the support of the CWSA team and resource persons, Moazzam Ali and Nergis Khan, the participants prepared customized action plans to apply their learning within their organizations and in the communities they serve. Equipped with practical knowledge and actionable plans, the participants expressed their eagerness for additional training on other topics to continue to increase their effectiveness in their work.

Participants’ Voices:

“The training techniques were interesting and engaging. The trainers, Moazzam Ali and Nergis Khan, not only held theoretical session, they also engaged participants in practical learning exercises such as role plays and group activities. We can replicate these activities in the target communities to build capacities of community members.” Mahmood Ahmad Medecins du Monde

“The activities conducted in the training workshop were interactive and provided long-term learning. The session on Policy of Social Mobilization made me realize the importance of having such a policy on an organizational level. These policies can be designed in accordance with the culture and context of the organization, which will boost the efficacy of the project activities for the welfare of communities.”

Rehana Yasmeen Easy Approach Community Organization (EACO)

“The training content helped me in overcoming the communication and mobilization gaps which exist in my field work. Moreover, the training environment was very welcoming, and it allowed me to share experiences openly and learn from others’ as well.”

Sajjad Ahmad Forum for Language Initiatives

For any new employee, it takes time to learn and adjust to their new working environment. Through leadership training with Community World Service Asia, Samsam Haider—a new Agriculture Development Officer for the Farmers Friend Organization (FFO) Support Program—is starting his career in development with important skills to excel in his challenging and multifaceted role.

After completing his M.Phil. degree in Agricultural Extension eight months ago, Samsam started working in the FFO Support System Program’s Operations Department. Samsam is responsible for developing and organizing Farmers Field Schools (FFS) and providing assistance to agriculture projects. He also organizes capacity development initiatives and performs departmental tasks involving data collection and management and monthly reporting.

According to Samsam, the FFO Support Program’s projects involve many different components, such as Human and Institutional Development, Health and Nutrition, Youth Development, Women’s Empowerment and more. Each component requires strong leadership skills, high confidence and effective team building skills to generate positive and productive outcomes.

Samsam says he participated in the Leadership Development for Managers (LDM) training workshop organized by Community World Service Asia in April 2019 because

The workshop was the essential platform for me to excel in my skills.

He added that the training taught him more than its name implied and was helpful both in his role at work and in his personal interactions. He commented,

The workshop was not limited to leadership content, as it also covered management styles, communication skills and motivation and team building. The training provided the opportunity to learn how to incorporate leadership strategies in our practical and professional lives.

For example, following the training, Samsam said he was able to apply the Conflict Management Style right away with his colleagues to understand their behavior and management traits. He explained,

A person’s behavior varies in different situations of conflict management. It can be difficult for me to judge the situation. To combat this, I developed a 15-statement form for various colleagues to rate their views on different situations occurring in the workplace. It was an interesting exercise, as I got to know how different individuals perform in various situations. Moreover, it helped me understand the working environment and the nature of my colleagues,

Samsam said.

Now, he says, he feels much more prepared for many different challenges and scenarios that will inevitably occur as he grows in his career. He said,

The learning I gained from the LDM Workshop has been fruitful, as it helped me to know my colleagues better. I learnt basic leadership skills and explored the latest trends and techniques of leadership to incorporate in my professional life. I will seek more learning opportunities focused on building capacities in communication skills, managerial leadership, time management and team building.

In addition to his own growth, he is also sharing what he learned with others at the monthly meeting of the FFO Support Program’s Operations Management Focus Group. Though Samsam is one of the newer faces at work, he—like a true leader—is already working to improve the culture of his organization through learning and collaboration.

In Pakistan, national organizations are playing a vital role in pushing for social development agendas by actively complementing the work of the government, media and other stakeholders towards achieving the ultimate goal of creating a progressive society. To do this and to effectively contribute to the country’s social and economic progress, it is necessary for civil society organizations (CSOs) to be equipped with the required knowledge and strong influencing skills.

As a key activity of Community World Service Asia’s Capacity Enhancement Project, a training on “Influencing for positive change” for local and national level organizations was organized to strengthen the skills and technical ability of CSO staff to implement advocacy and awareness raising projects and engage communities in the process more effectively.

The training was a five-day course and took place in Murree with a daily attendance of twenty-four participants representing five different national non-profit organizations.

Aftab Ahmed Awan, is a humanitarian professional with more than 15 years’ of experience in strategic direction, development and implementation of organizational policies and frameworks and resource mobilization, facilitated the sessions. Natasha Sajjad, Policy Advocacy & Influencing Specialist, co-facilitated along with Aftab.

Along the five-day course, participants learnt to differentiate between influencing and networking and were introduced to new and most effective tools and approaches applied to tasks and activities linked to influence.

To enhance participants’ knowledge on developing a strategic approach towards policy engagement and its communication, participants were engaged in designing real campaigns for social change through policy reforms. Through this exercise, they practically learnt new skills and approaches applied to “influencing” for successful campaigns.

Some of the participating organizations wanted to develop new skills to effectively implement their projects that involved activities that required influencing policymakers and overcome challenges of communication and monitoring campaigns through this training. Most of these participants were well satisfied with what they learnt as the trainer shared different tactics to utilize and overcome challenges faced during campaigns. Action plans for future campaigns were developed by participants and were to be further refined with their teams in their respective offices. As a follow up of the training, participants were offered technical support post-training to ensure finalization of action plans.

Participants’ Voices:

Ali Anwar, Program Officer MEAL, LASOONA

“Having the experience of a number of trainings, this training came out to be different and significant in terms of content, methodology and management. The topics were linked to our work and provided a good experience. The training was quite interactive and allowed an open platform for transparent learning from all participants’ experiences.”

Ishrat, Team Leader, Peace & Development organization

“Working directly with community becomes challenging at times. This training provided technical solutions to overcome the challenges and influence the people through effective campaigns. It provided in-depth knowledge on different aspects such as design, power analysis of stakeholders, setting goals and objectives, developing key messages and choosing the right medium for communication. The participatory approach adopted in the workshop allowed equal engagement of participants.”

Hassan Jamil, Monitoring Officer, The Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF)

“Attending the workshop was a very interesting experience.  I had a mixed opinion of the development sector, prior to this workshop. This workshop developed an optimistic view of humanitarian work and refined my knowledge for bringing a positive change in the society we live in. The interaction with experienced humanitarian professionals helps me build a clear understanding of running successful campaigns and influencing people to work for the progress of underprivileged societies.”

Group photo of Participants with EVC Team and Sofia Noreen in Mirpurkhas.

Community World Service Asia, through its networks and alliances, continuously seeks new and effective ways to maximize program impact, by utilizing the influence and ideas of specialized experts, including government officials, consultants, civil society workers, media personnel and academia,  who can make a difference.

By partnering with government departments, we assist vulnerable communities to work together on shared goals and actions. Our teams use this network of partnerships to encourage different communities to work towards bringing change, improve their lives and that of others.

To strengthen these partnerships and collaborations, two trainings, each of one day, were organized with government departments in Sindh.  Representatives from various departments such as the Social Welfare team, Women Development, Police, Education, Health, District Councils, and Population welfare teams were trained in a series of information sharing and capacity strengthening sessions on Gender laws and mainstreaming in districts Umerkot and Mirpurkhas in April this year. The trainings focused on enhancing Women’s Empowerment through increasing knowledge on and implementation of Gender Related Policies and Laws for the various line departments.

Sofia Noreen, a consultant with over 27 years of professional experience in research, programme designing and execution, monitoring, international development and liaison & coordination, facilitated the sessions.  Having practical experience on work around gender, women empowerment and governance, she had many interesting examples and exercises to share with the group of participants to ensure effective learning.

The training sessions were designed to enhance engagement and interaction among participants, while providing them sufficient space to share their personal experiences and professional learnings. By the end of the training, participants understood the role of social institutions in formation of gender roles and impact of gender roles towards gender discrimination in accessing nutrition, health, education, income/resources and decision-making forums at all levels. Participants were able to identify and differentiate between the various roles each official and department had to play towards development and gender mainstreaming considering the Gender Development Index and Gender Empowerment measures.

The training was very relevant to our field of work. The training introduced the patriarchy system and how it plays an important role in assigning different roles, keeping in view the gender perspective,” shared Saroop Chand, Assistant Director Social Welfare, Umerkot.

Group exercises, individual reflections, role plays and presentations highlighted Pakistani and Sindhi women’s status of empowerment on education, health, income and decision-making. To further enhance the participants knowledge, some sessions focused on teaching basic definitions, frameworks, policies and laws relevant to the governing various sectors.

I mostly decline training proposals I receive. However, the agenda of this training was quite appealing and relevant to my work. Sofia stressed on implementing the existing laws and policies in the country. Through proper implementation, we can omit the gender difference in every field of life and encourage empowerment of both men and women equally for the betterment of our society,” positively expressed Afroza Chohan, Incharge Women Complaint Cell, Mirpurkhas and Umerkot.

An exercise on clarifying the difference between gender and sex was one of the key topics of one of the sessions. Key institutions, such as family, academia, peer groups, religious institutes and media that play a vital role in establishing societal gender roles were identified as well. “On basis of these roles, some sections of society are given powerful status within societal structures while others are considered subordinate and subjugated. Hence, it is important to emphasize on the difference between gender and sex,” shared Sofia Noreen.

“The content of the training was unique and informative. I was unaware of many of the laws and policies related to Gender but this experience built a strong perspective towards women empowerment. The training stressed on how the process of socialization shapes our thoughts and actions and at which level one needs to work on changing the unjust mindsets,” said Junaid Mirza, Assistant Director Social Welfare, Mirpurkhas.