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A group photo of participants with Uma and Community World Service Asia Staff.

Organizations want to be strongly committed to international quality and accountability initiatives when responding to humanitarian crises for a more sustainable impact on the lives of affected populations and towards its implementing partners and staff. For this reason, the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) on Quality and Accountability (Q&A) guides organizations and individuals how to ensure they deliver quality, effective and accountable humanitarian responses. The nine commitments of the CHS, supported by guidance notes and indicators, provide a detailed information for organizations demonstrating how humanitarians can deliver high-quality programmes consistently and be accountable to those they assist.  The people affected by crisis are put at the center of humanitarian action and the respect of their fundamental human rights is promoted through the CHS.

To work consistently to improve the quality and accountability in humanitarian responses, Community World Service Asia organized a 3-Day Workshop on Quality and Accountability for Project Management for the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) staff and its partners. Twenty-five participants from 16 organizations gathered in Murree from 22nd till 24th of July, 2019 to mainstream CHS and its nine commitments for better quality and greater accountability in all aspects of engagement with communities and people affected by crisis.

The training introduced the Humanitarian Principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, that offered a common basis to underpin all humanitarian action. Participants were divided in groups of 4 each, where they discussed each principle and what it meant to them. The session reaffirmed the importance of promoting and respecting these principles within the framework of humanitarian assistance.  The training elaborated each commitment of the CHS to assess and ensure the quality of our work, to reduce the risk of mistakes, abuse and corruption, and continuously improve our work – for the benefit of the participants’ organizations and the people they work for.

In the session on Core Commitment 1, participants were divided in four groups where two groups discussed projects which took people-centered approach and the other two discussed projects that did not consider people-centered approach. The group discussions unfolded the importance of relevancy and appropriateness of humanitarian response to cater the needs of the affected communities. In another group activity under Core Commitment 2, two groups of men participants debated against the two women participants’ groups. Two groups were for and the other two were against the statement: “Communities and affected people have access to the assistance they need at the right time”. Through this session, participants were trained to design programmes that address constraints for proposed actions to be realistic and safe for communities. In addition, the debate highlighted the significance of delivering humanitarian response in a timely manner, making decisions and acting without unnecessary delay.

Formal mechanisms for complaints and redress are an essential component of an agency’s accountability and give affected communities some element of control over their lives. Participants shared some constraints people face that prevent them from lodging complaints. Some challenges included fear, job insecurity, cultural barriers, no response from concerned departments and sympathy. On day 3 of the training, the fish bowl activity was conducted where the partners of NCA formed a circle to share their relationship with NCA. Uma Naraynan, the training facilitator said, “The purpose of the exercise is to share opinions equally to maintain accountability.” Partners shared that NCA provides technical support when required and frequent visits are planned with timely feedback. Moreover, NCA respects their organizational mandate. Some recommendations were also shared including policy and SOPs orientation, guidelines for improved and consistent reporting and provision of field level training in relation to reporting and mobilization. The NCA representatives formed a circle in response to share their feedback with partner organizations. Some of the feedback was focused on building understanding of grant agreements and developing clarity of deliverables and reporting. In addition, NCA requested partner representative to share capacities and exposure of staff in order to enhance skills.

At the end of the training, participants prepared action plans on how they aim to implement the learnings of the CHS training and incorporate the nine commitments and the four humanitarian principles in their organizational systems and programs. The training concluded with a ceremony of certificate distribution.

Participants Voices:

“We have been implementing the Core Humanitarian Standards in our organization but were not aware of the CHS structure of nines commitments. In the training, we learnt to review and ensure our programs’ quality and accountability in accordance to the nine commitments and the humanitarian principles.”

Pirbu Satyani, Regional Coordinator, Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO)

“Bargad is involved in a range of projects. We have been implementing the nine commitments of CHS throughout our projects. However, this training provided us with clarity regarding the CHS structure and the humanitarian principles to improve our organizational systems and practices in accordance to the Core Humanitarian Standard and promote quality and accountability in humanitarian response.”

Usman Yunus, Program Coordinator, Bargad

“The key learnings from the 3-day Q&A workshop were, firstly, the importance of identifying the needs of the communities we are working in. If we are working in communities without knowing the needs, our efforts are not productive and effective. Secondly, the significance of stakeholders as we are working in collaboration with them on various projects. Lastly, it is essential for projects to be relevant and appropriate to meet the needs of the communities and affected people by crisis.”

Zara, Manager Human & Institutional Development, Civil Society Support Program

Group photo of participants with Uma and Community World Service Asia staff.

Humanitarian and development organizations exist to support vulnerable and marginalized communities with the most high-quality, accountable and effective responses possible. This requires humanitarian and development staff who possess the right skills to achieve goals and overcome challenges inherent to humanitarian work. Supporting this aim, Community World Service Asia organized a four-day training course on competency-based human resources (HR) for 19 professionals from humanitarian and corporate organizations in Pakistan in July 2019.

Competency-based HR supports efficient and productive recruiting, training and management and is accelerating the professionalization of the humanitarian sector. The training—titled “Competency-based HR Practices Using the Core Humanitarian Competency Framework” (CHCF)—was based on the proven CHCF tool, developed in 2011.[1] The CHCF identifies a set of core competencies—including specific behaviors that support program quality or minimizing risk, for example—that serve as a reference and resource for humanitarian workers to guide the processes for both day-to-day and long-term decision making and management.

The trainer, Uma Narayanan, started the course by defining the notion of competency and showing how the results of a competency analysis can inform and improve the HR processes of performance management, recruitment and selection, employee development and employee compensation. She then divided participants into six groups of three each to practice applying the CHCF to strengthen their humanitarian response initiatives. Using questions based on the CHCF, two people in each group interviewed a candidate (the third participant in the group) for an HR position. Participants found the exercise to be helpful in decision-making, finding the right person for the right job and bringing more transparency into recruiting processes.

Uma explained, “Although the HR personnel does not have the technical knowledge of the hiring position, he or she can bring in observation skills during the interviewing sessions.” In facilitating the training, she leveraged her experience as a specialist in HR, quality management and organizational development in the humanitarian and development sector. With a background in International Organizational and Systems Development, she has worked as an Organization Development and HR practitioner mostly in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Europe, for more than a decade.

A competency-based framework also supports the performance development process by identifying what is critical for success; then, support and feedback can be focused accordingly. In the Competency-Based Performance Assessment session, participants carried out a self-assessment of their competencies using their job profile to help identify key areas of focus. Participants were directed to rate themselves on a scale of 0 to 3 under each competency, where 0 means the stated competencies are not required for current role, 1 is Not met/Partially met, 2 is Met and 3 is Exceeds/Advanced proficiency.

Sadia Usman, Vice President of HR for Shakarganj Food Products Limited, found the self-assessment to be very eye-opening.

As I am heading the HR department in my organization, I believed that I must exceed in most competencies. However, assessing myself with evidence made the rating process difficult. This was a healthy exercise to know how we are working in our field. While rating myself, I found out that I was partially meeting the competencies instead of exceeding them.

Finally, participants were presented with a set of motivating factors in the Learning and Development session, consisting of 10 features that encourage staff to perform better. The features included working conditions, salary and benefits, job status, management recognitions and others. Each participant was asked to arrange the motivating factors according to priority—what motivated them the most and the least. Participants learnt that the competency framework, in conjunction with the job description and the self-assessment tool, can be used to get to know their team’s current performance. Taken together, these helped the participants learn to make judgments on future potential, identify the areas for growth and recognize how these relate to aspiration, ability and engagement.

The attendees were excited to take these skills and tools back to their organizations. Isma Amin, Head of HR for Secours Islamique France-SIF, said,

The training was very interesting in terms of learning the CHCF. The group activities kept us engaged throughout the training, and each exercise complemented the session and built a clear understanding of the CHCF. Uma developed a friendly and open-sharing environment where all of us felt comfortable while sharing opinions.

Another participant, Samra Rehman, HR Manager for the International Federation of Red Cross, shared,

Being an HR professional, I believe I can improve some HR practices in my organization on my return. I plan to give an orientation session on the CHCF with the staff of IRC. Moreover, the competency framework for talent management can be exercised in our field of work which will transparently assess performance and potential of employees.


[1] Developed by representatives from a cross-section of humanitarian organizations under the auspices of the Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies (now the Start Network).

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.”

A group photo of training participants with the resource person, Syed Ali Moazzam and the team of Community World Service Asia.

What is social mobilization? Social mobilization is the primary step of community development for recovery from conflicts and disasters. It allows people to think and understand their situation and to organize and initiate action for their recovery with their own initiative and creativity[1]. Through mobilization, people can organize themselves to take action collectively by developing their own plan and strategy for recovery rather than being imposed from outside. It is essential to understand the basic idea of social mobilization and its uses before practically implementing it.

Advocating the mobilization and participation of communities at all levels of project interventions, Community World Service Asia recognizes that project and field staff in the humanitarian and development sector must be equipped with adequate skills and expertise on how to interact with communities and build relations of long-lasting trust with them. To further this cause, Community World Service Asia, held and conducted a four-day training on “Essentials of Social Mobilization” for local level organizations in Murree, Pakistan, in early August. Twenty-seven participants from ten organizations participated in this training.

The training introduced the various social mobilization skills required to motivate communities to bring about positive and sustainable changes in their society by building opinion on social issues. The opportunities and challenges faced by development workers were outlined and skills were enhanced on communication, conflict resolution, decision-making and problem solving to work more effectively with communities.  The training elaborated on organizational policies to ensure inclusion of the marginalized segment of society especially to promote women participation in all processes of social mobilization. Participants developed skills to devise organizational strategies by engaging people to take ownership of their issues and resolve them by using local resources.

The prime focus of the training was to strengthen the capacity of local level organizations directly engaged in community mobilization and on-ground development initiatives. In the needs assessment, most of the participants showed interest in learning how to draft social mobilization strategies, using Participatory Rapid Assessment (PRA) tools, practicing effective communication skills, conflict resolution and how to identify local issues to advocate for social change. They also expressed an interest in enhancing their leadership skills to ensure effective social mobilization and women participation in the development process.

Once the participants for the training were finalized, they were included in all processes of the training design; from conceptualization to designing and activity planning. A training baseline survey was also conducted to learn about participating organizations’ policies, strategies and programs related to social mobilization and understand their organizational limitations and priorities.

Practicing the blended learning approach, the participants were divided in groups and given assignments. This exercise gave them the opportunity to learn by sharing experiences. A panel discussion was also held in which specialists selected from among the groups, with relevant experience, highlighted issues pertaining to lack of women empowerment. The purpose of this activity was to promote peer learning and sharing of contextualized best practices through open discussions, one-on-one talks and formal presentations among various organizations.

Key Learnings

The session on Participatory Rapid Assessment (PRA) allowed knowledge building on PRA tools including Focus Group Discussion, Key Informant Interview (KII), Social Mapping, Seasonal Calendar and transect walk. In a group activity, participants were divided in two teams. Both teams were assigned to work on different PRA tools. Team A worked on the transect walk, social mapping and KII, while team B’s task was to work on drafting a seasonal calendar by interviewing local people and conducting FGDs with a selected group of people. The teams performed actively and presented their work. The resource person identified some gaps and explained the tools for further clarity.

Another major need highlighted by the social mobilizers was to learn about the strategies and skills to overcome conflicts, communicate effectively in the community, enhance skills for effective conflict resolution, and trust building among communities.

Through adopting  various interactive learning methodologies, participants identified the many challenges faced regarding power dynamics, balanced inclusion and participation while working in the community and learnt how to overcome those through conflict management, conflict resolution, effective communication strategies and different styles of leadership according to situations and people needs.

Muhammad Taj, with 25 years of extensive experience working with Sungi Development Foundation on social mobilization, shared his practical experiences and strategies to motivate people and communities to realize challenges and try to resolve their issues collaboratively with the support of local organizations. The training facilitator further encouraged participants to work on devising policies and strategies on social mobilization and provide guidelines to field workers on how to mobilize people to speak about their issues and work together with them on realizing their basic fundamental rights.

Steps ahead

Participants developed organizational action plans, chalking out the roadmap for implementing the learnings of the training. They plan to share their respective action plans with their organizations.

[1] UN Habitat

A group photo of the training participants

Community World Service Asia organized and hosted a four-day training on Project Planning for development and humanitarian organizations in the third week of September in Murree. The training focused on enhancing capacities of participants on project planning, its tools and their application, and donor-specific planning approaches and frameworks.

Thirty-five participants from eleven organizations including Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKDN), Helpage International, Malteser International, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Multan Discoes Trust Association, Sungi Development Foundation, Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI), AAR Japan, AWARD, The Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) and Helping Hand for Relief & Development (HHRD) took part in the training. The training was facilitated by Zeeshan Noel, a development professional and trainer with expertise in project management, policy research and advocacy, and emergency response planning. Noel has been working in the development sector for almost ten years, and has been associated with development agencies, human/civil rights bodies, NGOs, and public sector offices.

Comprehensive project planning and effective compliance with the requirements of donor agencies is often one of the key challenges faced by humanitarian and development organizations. Many small and medium scale organizations in the region lack these formal skills or have very limited focus on this significant aspect of project management.  Whereas, it is the efficiency and effectiveness of  a project’s planning that determines its true success. Applying accurate planning tools help in the smooth execution of a project, continuous tracking of progress and towards readjusting implementation approaches at any stage of the project, needed to achieve the desired outputs.

The prime objective of the training was to create a conceptual clarity on the subject of and improve Project Planning skills, specifically in development phase of projects. This four days training was designed for mid-level managers with interest and prior experience in project planning and execution of development sector organizations. Participants, with prior basic knowledge on project planning and management, were selected for this training. Key concepts of pre-planning stage were introduced in the training, including understanding on Project Cycle Management (PCM), key results, problem tree analysis and Logical Framework Analysis (LFA). It helped the participants to thoroughly understand and provided a base for practically applying these tools.

On the first day, many participants were new to the concepts of PCM and Logical Framework Analysis, specially those who did not have any prior experience in the planning phase before. The timing of the training had to be adjusted and duration of some sessions had to be prolonged to make sure that all participants are on the same page and planned topics are fully covered. However, by day two the concepts were much clearer and actual practice on developing the plans was initiated.

By the end of training, all the participants were able to develop project planning and implementation tools for their organizations. Through group exercises, they developed problem tree analysis, LFA, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Performance Management Framework (PMF), Work plan and budget and costed work plan. In addition to the planning tools, M&E plans were developed and the concept of GSMART planning was also explained.

As a concluding exercise, an action plan for the participants was drafted in which each organization identified the gaps in their project planning and committed to introduce the newly learnt tools to overcome these challenges. Besides all learning, one of the key activities of the training was its fun night in which all participants, coming from different corners of the country, exhibited their cultures and tradition. They sang folk songs, danced and played games.

Muhammad Fazil Sardar, General Manager-Monitoring, Evaluation & Research, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), participated as a chief guest on the final day of the training and awarded certificates to all the participants. Addressing the training, he talked about the importance of project planning tools especially problem tree analysis to identify the root causes.

Project planning tools carry equal significance in project cycle management and day to day life as well.

A seven-day workshop on the use of visual communication tools was organized for humanitarian and development workers at a training centre in Pakistan’s hill-station, Murree, this July. Twenty-two participants representing a mix of local non-governmental organizations and internationals ones took part in this residual training which focused on building their visual communication skills. Through this engaging training,  participants enhanced their capacities required to translate development and humanitarian related messages used for various purposes, such as educational, behavior change or advocacy and campaigning into visual language. Hands-on techniques on when, how and innovatively to use them were taught and practised.

Participants Experience:

  • A Third Eye

    “I came here to acquire new skills. Being a part of this training has given me the ability to now translate what I see and how I feel into visual imagery. I feel that the camera is my third eye now.”

    Sarfaraz Qamar (TIPU Foundation Pakistan)
    Participant

     

  • Learning Through Diversity

    “The highlight of my seven days at O’Spring was the opportunity to learn from such a diverse group of trainees. Diversity has so many layers: age, experience, themes, even geographic. Community World Service Asia brought us all together on one page, offering a chance to absorb so many perspectives.”

    Mehr Aftab Salma (Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Pakistan)
    Participant

  • Role of Media in Development

    “I am really glad that I got the opportunity to be a part of this workshop. It met all the current needs of development sector and built our capacity to use the basic visual tools in our work. Now I can present visual stories more efficiently and effectively.”

    Saira Basharat (Community Support Concern, Pakistan)
    Participant

  • Essentials of Learning

    “The participants made this training an effective one: their eagerness to learn and their relevant yet diverse experiences in communications, made the learning process a wholesome one. I am happy that the participants did not allow their differences to come in the way of their learning.”

    Imran Lashari (Plum Studios, Ogilvy & Mather Pakistan)
    Trainer

     

  • Your Behaviour Matters!

    “Good behaviour leads to constructive learning. I observed that the participants of this group were helpful towards each other. Also, I have never seen such cameras and poses before. Where do you get them from?”

    Liaquat Ali (O’Spring)
    Support Staff

     

  • My duty, Your safety

    “I don’t make exceptions for anyone. I treat everyone who comes here for a training, the same. I have learned to ignore when someone gets upset with me or happy because only by staying true to my duty can I ensure your safety.”

    Asghar Khan (O’Spring)
    Security Guard

     

The success of rural development depends upon the willingness and active participation of the local community in the development process. To ensure such participation, NGOs carry out extensive social mobilization activities within communities to raise awareness on sensitive issues. Social Mobilization is a cornerstone for participatory approach in rural development and poverty alleviation programs as it aims to create a sense of ownership amongst the people by involving them directly in the decision making process. Acknowledging the strong need and importance of social mobilization, the Capacity Institutionalization Team at Community World Service Asia held a five-day residential workshop on Social Mobilization this July in a hill-station training center in Murree. This training was offered to community mobilizers, social organizers and staff members of mid to small NGOs.

Twenty-five participants from different religious backgrounds belonging to interior Sindh, Punjab and KPK provinces attended the five-day workshop. The participants came in with the expectation to raise unanswered questions and provide their input on Social Mobilization and its methods, as a part of the learning process. Techniques on effective leadership skills, communication skills, social analysis, problem analysis were taught through plenary sessions, individual readings, group discussions, group presentations, role-plays, energizers, presentations, and video clips. This learning opportunity provided the participants with crucial tools to recognize issues within a society and how to effectively address them. Muhammad Bilal, a participant said, ‘this training has given us a lot of knowledge regarding community development/participation and how to effectively use tools to successfully implement our project goals and activities.’

Syed Moazzam Ali, the trainer for the event, with an extensive experience of conducting trainings with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), government institutions, communities and educational institutions across Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh ensured that the training remained as interactive and participatory as possible. Moazzam has been associated with leading Rights-based organizations such as Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Amnesty International.

The main focus of the training being “social mobilization”, it included in depth session on the definition of a community and qualities of a good mobilizer, tiers of social mobilization, problem analysis and social analysis. In addition, there were many subtopics under the broader category such as, “development”, which included definition and types of development and philosophy and approaches to participatory development. Another underlying topic was “cross cutting themes,” including concepts on caring about the vulnerable in the process of social mobilization and the role of suppressed minority groups such as women, children, people with HIV/Aids, trans-gender and disabled.  The participants felt that this was an excellent choice of topics as one participant Shazia Lal stated, ‘I had no idea what is social/community mobilization but specially learning and attending this workshop has deepened my knowledge and learning.’ Overall, the training has shown positive results, with 92% of the participants claiming that their expectations from the training were met. In addition, the post-test scores showed a 70% improvement in topic based knowledge compared to the pre-tests.

At the last session of the workshop, all participants were awarded certificates for successfully completing the five-day training; this also formally closed the training. In addition, Mr. Moazzam thanked Community World Service Asia for organizing this training, and gave his contact details to the participants for any follow-up questions on the workshop to ensure its sustainability.

Nazmeen, one of the participants, reflected, “After coming here, I realized that the concepts we are learning are very important for constructing our society.  It has shown me how I should live in a society and how to support others. Furthermore, the things we take for granted and sometimes ignore actually end up being harmful for the society. Alone we are nothing, we have strength in numbers and that support from people is what constructs a good society. This is what I have learned from this training. I am fully equipped with the basic principles of developing a society, and what our responsibilities are in building such a society.”

Participant Views

  • “It was my first residential training on social mobilization. I had a wonderful and useful learning experience. The training environment was comfortable with no fear of learning or questioning. I found this training different in two aspects; one, the language was easy and secondly, there was a use of variety of activities with a humble attitude by the facilitator. Though I liked all sessions but mostly I liked social mapping exercise while visiting field in Murree. We worked in groups on different tools. Furthermore the linkages with the networks we work with will strengthen by applying the tools of social mobilization we studied in thetraining,” shared Jennifer Joseph, CSC-Christian Study Center Rawalpindi.

  • “I have 15 years of work experience in Social Mobilization but I was not aware of the tools and proper methods of social mobilization. Coming to this training has taught me these. I have realized that change comes from within a person and when I go back I will conduct two days training with my team to further my learnings. The learning was effectives due to the humble and friendly attitude of the facilitator. I suggest that grass-root level organizations should be invited because they require capacity building and an opportunity to grow,” expressed Yasmeen Khkwani, Savail Welfare Society Multan

Theatre has always been an art form which is extremely effective in inspiring and uniting communities by engaging audiences through entertaining and thought-provoking performances and dialogues. Through this interactive form of entertainment, awareness on social issues is raised and possible solutions to prevailing problems are sought. Recognizing the strong impact of this artistic medium, the Capacity Institutionalization Team at Community World Service Asia held a seven-day residential workshop titled, Theater for Development this June in a hill-station training centre in Murree.

The workshop was attended by twenty-three participants from parts of Sindh and Punjab and aimed at building the capacity of these participants, closely working with local, vulnerable communities to build awareness on social issues through theatre.  Techniques on effective theatre plays for social advocacy were taught at the training while also providing participants a multidimensional experience of learning through theory analysis and behavior study of different age groups. This learning opportunity enabled them to explore the fundamentals of theatre, art of creating stories, improvisation with groups and how to inculcate issue based content into an effective theatre performance.

Sarfraz Ansar, Actor, Director and Vocalist, with a vast experience of 25 years and having conducted over a thousand theatre performances at national and international levels was the lead facilitator at the training.  While, Idrees Ali Khan, theater performer, puppet maker and cultural activist for the last thirty years was the co facilitator. Idrees Ali has an expertise of directing more than a hundred plays on social issues in partnership with leading civil society organizations. Both the facilitators were from Azad theater Pakistan.

The training contents were developed around three major themes; Essentials and Fundamentals for Theater – this theme included various components namely body language, communication, expression, rhythm, emotions, images, and trust building; the  second theme, Theatre Development, included a history of theatre, script writing, storytelling, improvisation for the street, challenges and opportunities and theatre techniques; while the final theme focused on production and performance with an emphasis on the importance of costumes, lighting, sets and  back stage design.

At the workshop closing session, Liaqat Ali Tameemi, Executive Coordinator of Doaba Foundation participated as the chief guest to distribute Awards and certificates among workshop participants and formally closed the training. He thanked and acknowledged the efforts of Community World Service Asia and the Azad Theatre Pakistan and stressed on a need for a follow up of this workshop to ensure its sustainability.

  • Tahira Azam, Doaba Foundation

    “We, the Doaba team, are very satisfied with the training, learning and especially with the quality of lesson delivery of resource persons. We see this learning as a great skill and we will use learnt techniques in our community work.

    We request Community World Service Asia to extend follow up support to us in its implementation at community level especially with young children as Doaba planned to establish children clubs to impart health and hygiene awareness in villages.”

  • Zulfiqar Ahmed, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe

    “This training increased my understanding of theatre and its role in communication and advocacy. It helped me to understand possible effectiveness of using theatre tools in our awareness raising on food and nutrition related problems in targeted communities under projects. I feel happy and confident after learning new theatre techniques.”

  • Shamim Munir Khan , Doaba Foundation

    “This training has increased my confidence. I have learnt various theatre tools such as script writing, activism, rhythm, communication and other techniques.”

  • Tasneem Bashir, Doaba Foundation

    I have learnt a lot from this training about tools of theatre play. It inspired me to learn advance techniques of Production, Direction, Acting, Script Writing and Puppet Show in future. It would be great if Community World Service Asia help us in providing specialized trainings like these.”

  • Islam, Indus Theatre Development Organization- Khairpur Mirs

    “I learnt basic techniques of practicing theatre for development. The training contents were need based, relevant and beneficial for a theatre activist. Physical and mental exercised executed in training have sharpen our imagination, observation and improved body knowledge.”