A new social model to bring change among youth launched Zartaj Gul, Australian High Commissioner term youth real asset of society

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Zubair Qureshi

A new mobilization model titled, SASA (Start Aware Support Action) was launched to sensitize youth how to bring change in their lives. Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul was the chief guest on the occasion while the event was attended by a large number of representatives from government sector, civil society, international organizations and other development entities.
Aiming Change for Tomorrow (ACT) another non-government organization working for youth mobilization had organized the SASA conference funded by the Australian Government.
Addressing the conference Zartaj Gul commended the initiative and noted it was essential to adopt newer and internationally tried best practices and approaches to curtail violence against women and girls.” With every passing day, we are witnessing a new challenge but at the same we have the potential and will power to not only overcome that challenge but turn it into opportunity, she said. She termed youth real asset of the country and harbinger of change.
She added that the government was fully committed to eradicating violence against women and girls and involvement of women in all spheres of life. “
Speaking at the occasion, Minister of State for Climate Change informed the participants that present government was engaged in social mobilization of its beneficiaries. However, she said, that there is a dire need for mobilization model for rural, illiterate and vulnerable communities. She said, “SASA!has provided an impactful alternative to mobilization of communities and it can be adopted in varying settings.”
High Commissioner of Australia Dr Geoffrey Shaw said the Australian High Commission was glad to support Start, Awareness, Support and Action (SASA) campaign that aimed at encouraging men, women and youth to address violence against women through positive behaviour changes. He said the youths played instrumental role in bringing change in society and SASA initiative also aimed at exploring youths’ potential in positive direction.
Reducing tolerance for violence in communities is a key part of Australia’s A$11m #EVAW program in Pakistan, said the Australian high commissioner.
The conference included a presentation on SASA!byKampala based non-governmental organization Raising Voices andimplementing partners presented on the journey to adapting the SASA! model to the Pakistan context and its implementation. Testimonials of Community Activists (CAs), a comprehensive documentary on SASA!keynote session and award ceremony for the CAs was also part of the conference.
Since implementation, there has been a significant rise (54%) in community members who are able to reach out to women experiencing violence in communities, with a 58% rise in community members who consider that violence is not okay. In addition, on average 73% of the targeted community members are now very able to extend support to survivors of violence, know and can tell alternatives to violence, refer cases and can challenge social norms.