Participants express resolve to keep highlighting marginalized communities’ issues

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‘Celebrating Peace Together’ project concludes

Zubair Qureshi

“When civil society comes to work together it gives us hope that we have a constructive future ahead of us” Haris Qayyum, Senior Advisor, The Asia Foundation expressed this view while speaking at the closing ceremony of the ‘Celebrating Peace Together’ project here on Saturday.

The ceremony was attended by senior government officials, civil society representatives, academia and media representatives.

Programme Coordinator of The Asia Foundation, Farva Rashid said the project was launched by the Asia Foundation in 2018 in Punjab, KP and Sindh in collaboration with Bytes for All; Initiative for Sustainable Development; Legal Rights Foundation and the Accountability Lab with an objective to reduce violence against the vulnerable segments of the society.

This was achieved through Institutionalizing Preemptive Early Warning Mechanism and strengthening support networks for marginalized population. She further shared that the Punjab Women Protection Authority (PWPA), Directorate of Human Rights (DoHR), Social Welfare Department (SWD) Sindh and National Commission for Human Right (NCHR) were the strategic partners of the project.

Abdul Waheed Shaikh, Secretary Social Welfare Department, Punjab said that a state-of-the-art Early Warning System (EWS) was designed and implemented through this project enabling archiving of human rights violations, timely response, analysis and the future policy making. The system enabled the inclusion of local government and other state institutions for effective referral mechanism and support to the victims of violence.

The deployment has also enabled the department to archive and analyze the data for effective policy-making.

Students from partner academic institutions including Women University Swabi, Abdul Wali Khan University, University of Haripur, Fatima Jinnah Women University, University of Okara, MNS University of Agriculture Multan, University of Karachi and Federal Urdu University of Arts Science and Technology also shared their journey, learnings and impact of the programme on their lives. They told the audience that Youth Peace Incubation Centers established under the “Celebrating Peace Together” project at their respective universities played an important role in promoting the Safe Environment at the Campuses and building the capacity of the students to be effective and responsible citizens.

Farhan Khalid, Programme Manager of the Accountability Lab told the participants that Accountability Lab also funded eight Social Enterprise Ideas under this project enabling students to design and pilot test enterprise solutions to address the local issues in an organic and sustainable manner.

The ceremony was concluded with music and theater performances by the students of partner academic institutions.