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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.

A theater play was performed by a local theater group called Pirbhat.

A district level event to commemorate International Women’s Day was held with participation of local communities, humanitarian and relevant government body representatives on the 28th of March (2019) in Mirpurkhas. This event, with an attendance of over two hundred participants, was organized by Community World Service Asia’s team under its Gender Mainstreaming project in collaboration with the Social Welfare Department of Mirpurkhas.

Sayyada Banu, Additional Director of Social Welfare Sindh, and Nafisa Qurban, Deputy Director of Social Welfare, Sindh, graced the event as special guests to applaud and promote the accomplishments of Sindh’s rural women. Other guests at the event included representatives of District Information, District Bar Association, District Council, the Police Department, and the District Municipal Department.

Agha Sardar, Project Officer at CWSA’s Umerkot office, welcomed the guests and shared the objective of the event, which was to congregate different people from different segments of life to honor and acknowledge the contribution of rural women towards the development of a prosperous and empowered society.

Today we celebrate the inspiring role of women around the world and encourage them to work towards achieving women’s rights and build more equitable societies,

said Kiran Bashir, Project Manager, CWSA, as she addressed the audience while briefly introducing the project as well.

Sumaira Baloch, an active Social Worker in Mirpurkhas district, spoke on the topic too.

Women have been created beautifully. They can work as hard as men. However, women face many challenges due to which they often lack behind in different fields of work. Every day should be celebrated as women’s day, to highlight these challenges and the remarkable ways in which women can and do overcome these challenges. Issues such as harassment at work, domestic violence and discrimination require immediate attention and action plan. We need to honor and respect women who choose to come out of their homes and work and allow them opportunities to work along with men with pride and honor.

Appreciating CWSA’s efforts towards organizing the IWD event at a district level, Shagufta, an advocate by profession and an active social worker expressed,

I am pleased to be part of this event which honors the contribution of women towards the betterment of the society. I truly believe in both genders thinking and working together for a successful development process. As member of the District Engagement Group (DEG), working under the EVC Project, we aim to listen to the voices of marginalized communities. We want to ensure that no one is left behind.

Nusarat Miyano, a vigorous social worker in Mirpurkhas shared the everyday challenges a woman faces as a housewife or as a professional. She talked of the harassment that young girls and woman face at educational institutes and workplaces as a key challenge. 

It is important to build awareness regarding the existing laws in the country that protect women. Sessions must be held so that women can fight for their rights to overcome these challenges.

As part of the event, a theater play was performed by a local theater group called Pirbhat[1]. The play highlighted the essential role of women in decision-making, especially in matters related to child marriages, girl’s education and economic empowerment. Koshaliya, an artisan in Umerkot since 2015, was invited on stage to share her views of women empowerment.

CWSA gave me an opportunity, such that most women of our community can only dream of. Their livelihoods team facilitated us with a six months vocational and adult literacy training. My life changed dramatically after that. I became a Sales Marketing Agent and received other trainings on skill development as well. I visited Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad to promote our handicrafts. Our products were appreciated at national level as they were exhibited through exhibitions and fashion shows. We are continuously getting orders of embroidered apparel with the support of the CWSA. As a result, more than a thousand women, residing in remote villages of Umerkot, have become economically stronger and are supporting their families in many different ways.

Radha Bheel, another local social worker, congratulated all the participating women for their numerous achievements, despite the many social and cultural hindrances they face in their communities.

We live in a male dominant society, where it is difficult for a woman to even move freely. In a world like this, I commend the women of today for the many achievements they have made. This shows that women have the capabilities and talent to prove that they can achieve the impossible.

This was followed by a screening of a short video case story that demonstrated the skill building journey of the artisans and how that eventually lead to the launch of commercial handicrafts brand, called Taanka, for them.

Addressing the attendants, Shafique Husain Memon, Divisional Director Information Mirpurkhas, congratulated CWSA for organizing an event that appreciates women in every walk of life. He stressed on the importance of educating women.

We all have the responsibility to promote the rights of women in every field and honor their contributions towards change and progress.

Sayyada Baano, expressed,

I feel fortunate to be attending this dynamic event especially organized to celebrate International Women’s Day. Women play a strong role along with men in building a harmonious society. However, there is need for women to participate freely and openly. The Sindh Government is making efforts to protect the right of women by putting emphasis on strong implementation on laws such as Domestic Violence Act 2013. This will facilitate deprived women and protect them from the social evils.

The poor condition of women living in Dar-ul-Amman[2] has saddened me. Women are neglected, scared and tortured. It is unfortunate to see how the society, especially the male dominant segment, has dealt with this. I assure you that the Government of Sindh will take strong actions in protecting women’s rights to build a safe society for women to live peacefully and freely.

Junaid Mirza, Assistant Director Social Welfare Mirpurkhas, thanked the guests and speakers for honoring the women of today. He assured to hold and support such events with the collaboration of Government departments.  Traditional Sindhi Ajraks[3] were presented as gift to the speakers and dignitaries at the closing ceremony of the event.


[1] A local theater group formed under the livelihoods project. Members of the group were trained under the project.

[2] A shelter home for women victims of violence.

[3] Ajrak (Sindhi: اجرڪ‎) is a unique form of block printed shawls and tiles found in Sindh, Pakistan.

Group Photo of the training participants of "Leadership Development for Managers" in Sindh.

Most managers in local organizations are often not given many opportunities of professional training or grooming on enhancing leadership skills. These particular skills are crucial to achieving planned goals and to bring the best out of a team in any management role. To fill this gap and to further strengthen the role of managers, second-line leadership, and  staff in supervisory roles in local NGOs or CSOs, Community World Service Asia organized a four-day workshop on Leadership Development, under its Capacity Enhancement Program in Mirpurkhas, Sindh, Pakistan. The training, organized in early May, was participated by twenty-seven professionals from eleven local level organizations in Sindh.

The training, which was in a “workshop” format,  focused on introducing the various leadership styles recognized globally and strengthening management skills and professional competencies to lead and guide teams and individuals. Some of the key sessions of the training included “Difference between Leadership and Management Skills”, “Community types and style”, “Transactional Analysis and Coaching” and “Mentoring Skills”. Participants understood the difference between a good leader and a good manager and what characteristics stands them apart. An activity which aimed at identifying and mastering the five steps for team building helped the participants to reflect upon the critical stages of team building and how to facilitate the process. Referencing to real life challenges faced in work environments when attempting to conduct team building activities, this session was particularly relevant for most participants.

Transactional Analysis was a new approach introduced in the training. The session analyzed the social transformations of organizations. With the help of this session, the participants further built their knowledge on the various types of social transactions and how to avoid arguments or cross communication with colleagues in future.

Participants recognized the importance of mentoring and coaching towards developing second-line leadership and how vital it is for staff in managerial roles as it aids in limiting the risks of internal and external challenges faced by organizations.

Sohail Muhammad Ali, the lead trainer for the workshop applied interactive and participatory approaches throughout the training which allowed participants to be consistently engaged and active throughout the sessions. Participants voiced their concerns and opinions openly during the four-days workshop.

Participants’ Voices:

“This was a unique training experience. To me the difference between western and eastern communications style was a new thing. We are always engaged in communication without knowing our style of communication, its pro and cons, strengths and weaknesses and limitations. The discussion on different communication models really helped me understand the different backstopping I personally face in my work. Now I can analyze my style of communication and work for further improvement.

Asad Chachar, Jagarta Social Welfare Organization (JSWO)

“Training for Leadership Development for Managers was very informative. I learnt new approaches and tools including Transitional analysis, Emotional intelligence & trust building. These tools are indeed helpful in understanding the note of emotions, language style, communication type and understand what others want to communicate. Words alone do not give you the complete message. You have to understand the emotions and communication style of others to fully understand their message. Previously, we only focused on words which often created problems as there was no clarity or clear message. I am very hopeful this training will be helpful for me in my professional career and personal life”

Allah Dino Khoso, field office, Badin, Sindh, Community World Service Asia

“I am relatively new to this sector and this training really helped me to understand the dynamics of management and leadership skills.  The environment was very comfortable and it provided a culture of sharing and acquiring new skills together. The facilitator of the training was proactive in delivering the sessions. He possessed in-depth knowledge and shared good examples on the training subject. The workshop was very interactive and everyone was engaged throughout the training”

Beenish Mahak, Nishat Welfare Organization

“We do say that leaders are born with leadership skills, however through capacity building programs, these skills can be developed among second line management as well.  The culture of mentoring and coaching in the organizations builds a strong bond for staff within the organization. It increases their commitment and spirit to achieve higher targets and attain long term objectives of the organization. This is one of my key learnings from  this training.”

Fozia Kashif, Participatory Village Development Programme

Group Photo of alumni students of University of Sindh of the Social Media management Training in Mirpurkhas.

A series of trainings on Social Media Management for alumni students of the Youth United for Change network from different universities across Pakistan were held in the cities of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Lahore and Faisalabad. The trainings aimed at enhancing the knowledge of students and graduates on social media, its key tools, its impact and usability for bringing positive changes and awareness.

Popular social media campaigns and their impact were shared with participants. Through assignments and interactive exercises alumni students were guided on how to plan and develop their own successful social media campaigns on social causes, awareness issues and development goals. Inspiring and innovative video and photo campaigns successfully run on social media platforms by UN agencies, international aid organizations, CSOs and global academic networks were shown to participants to get inspiration from. Group activities on developing informative viral campaigns, #Hashtag activism, infographic development and creating facebook pages encouraged students to bring out their creativity and put on their thinking hats. At the same time, these youth representatives were cautioned on the cons of mis-using social media and the ethical considerations to take while developing and implementing campaigns on social networks.  A significant session of the training emphasized on using social media tools to share knowledge on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to develop campaigns that would help us achieve the global goals unitedly as a nation.

Students’ Corner:

“Youth must be united for progress and development of their country and in today’s age social media is the most effective and engaging platform which is easily used and available to everyone. Together we can bring positive change through innovative social media and #hashtag campaigns,”  Mohammad Shebaz, alumni of University of Sindh, Mirpurkhas Campus.

“The training was very fruitful. The facilitator of the training delivered all sessions effectively and efficiently for us to build a clear understanding of social media and how to use it. We learnt to use social media ethically as well which most of us overlook and do not take concern of. These kind of trainings fulfill the need of today’s society where social media is frequently used by most individuals, especially youth,” Ajay K. Rathore, alumni of University of Sindh, Mirpurkhas Campus.

“This experience was very informative, creative and productive. We learnt new ways of interacting in different social media sites and how to make our content effective and eye-catching.” Maham Ansar, alumni of University of Sindh, Jamshoro.

“The way of delivering sessions step by step was helpful to understand the different terms and sites of social media. In a short period of one day, we managed to gain interesting facts regarding the techniques of using social media which we were initially unaware of.” Hoorab Ansar, alumni of University of Sindh, Jamshoro.

“Being an Alumni Member, this training was very helpful as social media has become one of the main modes of media to get connected globally. The frequent use of social media is productive and impactful, for youth especially. The training helped in understanding blogs and article writing and how to start campaigns within ethical boundaries. Furthermore, it helped to understand getting over the distance gap and stay connected and united with youth from the South-Asian region through social media platforms. It also enabled me to develop effective and productive messaging for positive social changes in the region.” Mahnoor, alumni of University of Sindh, Mirpurkhas Campus.

 

Tech. Assistance by CWSA at RDA Office Mithi_ Tharparkar District, Sindh

The training helped my organization to better understand methods of budgeting and keeping financial records. It also gave us the competence to develop sound and applicable financial policies for our work,

Muhammad Bakhsh Khaskheli, from the Rural Development Association (RDA) participated in a financial management training organized by Community World Service Asia in Mirpurkhas in May this year. The objective of the financial management training was to increase the financial management capacity and improve policy development of local community-based organizations. Kashkheli particularly sought after these improvements for his organization.

Our financial procedures were not that swift, and we had to work hard on assembling documents, making photocopies, and preparing missing formats for going through the annual audits. Moreover, we do not have an internal audit department, so an internal audit committee consisting of three executive body members did our internal monitoring. However, this committee was not competent to conduct an internal audit that provides insight on future planning and procedural intricacies.

A resident of Hyderabad city, 42-year-old Muhammad Khaskheli works as a program manager in RDA. Khaskheli’s primary responsibilities include program development, implementation, and resource mobilization. He is also responsible for corresponding with donors.

Khaskheli attended the Financial Management training, expecting that it would help improve and develop RDA’s financial management system. Various topics were covered in the training, such as financial planning, bookkeeping, and accounting. Khaskheli remarked,

The session on accounting taught us to base accounting on the principles of consistency, accountability, transparency, viability, integrity, stewardship, and accounting standards. The session was highly interactive. For each principle, the participants shared examples on how to harmonize accounting with these principles.

Khaskheli gained valuable information and tools at this training, which he introduced at his organization in order to improve their financial management. After the training, RDA developed updated financial management and Human Resources’ manuals. Community World Service Asia outsourced a consultant, who visited Khaskheli’s office, discussed and reviewed every policy and procedure in the updated manuals, before finalizing it, and then a held a one-day workshop with the staff to orient them on it. The consultant also supported RDA with developing specific policies in the newly revised manuals.

Before this training, we had a very simple manual, but we were not able to develop a clear financial management system. However, these revised manuals’ detailed policies and procedures have positively affected the organization’s financial management in different ways,

Khaskheli affirmed.

Our financial procedures have improved since the training. Now, we have a better financial policy system and our documentation is complete and updated, ready for audits.

According to updated policy, the organization will hire a professional consultant to lead the internal audit committee and provide reports that will help in identifying policy and procedural gaps that are beneficial for future planning. This will continue until RDA attains resources to develop an independent audit department. After the training, RDA developed procedures to minimize financial risks. A code of conduct was also incorporated within the finance and administration departments and a clear delegation of authority was planned.

The training led to profound changes in the organization’s budgeting techniques. According to Khaskheli,

budget reporting has become easy.” At RDA, budget reports only included numerical figures before, now however, they include proper budget codes and budget narratives where necessary so that external stakeholder can easily understand the budgets. Khaskheli attested, “Because of the training, we better understand how to prepare budgets through an accountable and transparent financial system.

Adding further, Kashkheli stated,

Rural Development Association is a growing grassroots organization. We needed to develop a robust financial management system to make our financial matters transparent, easily functional, and to increase our credibility among the communities we are working with and other stakeholders, including donors.

Understanding and application of financial concepts is becoming essential in the nonprofit sector, as donor agencies increasingly prefer organizations that have sound financial management systems in place. A Financial Management training was designed and conducted by our Capacity Institutionalization Project to strengthen the financial management skills of participants belonging to small-scale organizations in Pakistan. The training aimed to equip participants with methods, skills and techniques to help them utilize financial management tools with efficiency and effectiveness.

This 5-day training session welcomed participants from Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and NGO workers, particularly those belonging to small-scale organizations. The training catered to both financial and program personnel. It was a third training of its kind, held at Mirpurkhas Sindh from 9th to 13th  of May, 2017. Twenty-seven participants from fifteen organizations, including 23 men and 4 women, took part in this activity based training.

Nazar Abbas Naqvi, financial management expert and a trainer with 18 years of relevant experience, facilitated the five day workshop.  Mr. Naqvi has worked on international donor funded programmes, including USAID, DFID, Asian Development Bank, European Commission and the World Bank. He has delivered extensive capacity trainings on financial management to public sector staff, Civil Societies Organizations and NGOs across various regions of Pakistan and abroad. Nazakat Bibi, Education Specialist at Community World Service Asia and Nadia Riasat, Senior Program Officer co-facilitated the training with him.

The training imparted specific skills on the fundamentals of financial management, developing effective financial policies and internal controls and streamlining accounting systems as per organizational policies. It geared participants on  preparing budgets, financial reports as per donor requirements, as well as facilitating audits to ensure transparency.

Through the various interactive sessions in the workshop, participants’ knowledge on the roles and responsibility of an organization’s board members, managers, finance and program team was also enhanced. The importance of budget in planning, control and decision-making was highlighted with key components and language of accounting system. Participants were made familiar with the concept of reconciliation and analysis of books of accounts. The link between budgets, accounting records, and financial reports were also explained in detail. A sample set of financial policy guidelines and procedures required for an operational NGO program were also shared with participants, which will help the participating organizations to strengthen their financial systems.

A session on resource mobilization was taken very well by the participants as it was a new topic for participants, both with financial and non-financial backgrounds. They were sensitized on mobilizing monetary resources. Some of the finance managers attending the training shared their interest in playing a more prominent role in resource mobilization. “It was an ambitious and knowledgeable workshop in which we learnt many things. On behalf of our organization, Orangi Charitable Trust (OCT), I would like to congratulate Community World Service Asia for the successful training from which all the participants benefited,” shared Qazi Raheem Bux Qureshi, a participant from Orangi Charitable trust (OCT).

  • Prem Das: I have learnt a lot about financial management. Risk management was a new and interesting topic for me which I was very little aware of before. Most importantly, the session on resource mobilization has enabled me to contribute more to my organization.

    Society for Safe Environment and Welfare of Agrarians – PAK.

  • MB Khaskheli: The training helped us to understand all the aspects of financial management. This training was designed on building knowledge on basic level. It will be interesting to attend an advanced level training on finance in future. It was an excellent, highly encouraging and full of fun learning experience.”

    RDA- Rural Development Association

     

  • Beena Baig: This training gave me an insight on financial management, budgeting and financial reporting. It gave me an opportunity to refresh all, previously learnt, financial theories and policies. I have learnt techniques of resource mobilization which will be more beneficial as we only managed record resources.”

    Community World Service Asia

  • Arjun Pattel: I was very lucky to be a part of such an constructive and communicative training. I have learnt a lot in these five days. Prior to this training, my knowledge level about financial management and policies was quite weak. This training enhanced my skills in financial management immensely.”

    Pakistan Village Development Program (PVDP)

  • Afshan Waheed: The Financial Management training was a completely new experience for me as it is not my field of work. But attending this training proved to be very beneficial as I learnt basic concepts of financial management and accounting. Now my concepts are clear and I will be able to contribute in financial discussions and decisions.

    Sukaar Welfare Organization

Under the Capacity Institutionalization Project, Community World Service Asia conducted a four-day workshop on Organizational Development during the third week of this February in Mirpurkhas, Sindh. Twenty-eight participants, including twenty-one men and seven women, belonging to fourteen local and community based organizations participated at this capacity building event.

The workshop aimed at further developing the capacity of the executive management of small NGOs and CBOs in Sindh, on the core concepts of organizational development. A specific focus was laid on developing an understanding of clear roles and responsibilities between an organization’s board and management, decentralized organizational and decision making structures. The workshop encouraged the participants to contemplate on their organizational values and equipped them with the latest tools to help assess their organizations’ structure and culture, and make the necessary modifications as per needs and requirements. On the last day of the event, action plans for each organization were developed by all the participants, to evaluate their learning and how it is being incorporated practically. A technical assistance will be provided to interested organizations on the basis of their action plans to further strengthen their systems and practices.

Quotes & Comments by Participants

  • Simon Goel: During this 3-Day Workshop, I learnt a lot about development, under-development and why organizations deteriorate due to lack of growth and policies’ enforcement.

  • Chander: I enjoyed this training. There was a lot to learn regarding organizational development. I tend to further my knowledge and strengthen the weaknesses of my organization so that it can execute different projects more effectively for the betterment of the nation.

  • Aneer Adil: I had a good time, learning new features for a strong organizational structure and sharing my experience with other at the same time. All participants were easy going. Methodologies used during the workshop were effective. Sir Sohail is one of the best facilitator. I wish all the best to everyone.

  • Humera: Before coming to this workshop, I was not aware about organizational development and its importance. But with the help of different discussions, presentations and group work, my knowledge has increased and I will definitely apply some of these tools in order to make our OD structure more effective.

  • Dur M. Brohi: I have attended many trainings and workshops but this training is different from others. Here we gained more knowledge, on how can we make our own organization and how can we improve the image of the organization.

  • Jabbar Bhatti: This training gave many new thoughts, new terminologies and new things about organization to develop and to make our organization efficient. I learnt 10 rules of social entrepreneurship and key learnings for developing organization. Overall the training was very helpful for me personally which will ultimately be a contributing factor to my organization.

  • Sarfraz Ali: The workshop was very informative. A variety of methodologies made the workshop more interesting. This workshop was advantageous for me as I came to know about different tools and techniques, which I have never heard about. I am quite confident that I will apply my learnings in my current organization to refine policies, procedures and practices.

     

  • Ahsan Goel: There are so many things which I got to know about Organizational Development. As a HR assistant it will be very useful for me and my organization. For this 4-Day workshop, I would like to say thanks to Community World Service Asia, especially Sir Suhail for training us so clearly and effectively.