Miss Deeba Shahnaz Akhter
WORLD over 21st September is being celebrated as International Day of Peace with theme ‘Together for peace: Respect, safety and dignity for all.’ The word ‘together’ in this theme is an excellent globally selected initiative that directly honours the spirit of mutual respect, collective efforts, unites the individuals, organizations and countries. The purpose to celebrate this day is to strengthen the ideals of peace among all the nations and the focus of the celebration of the day is engaging and mobilizing people from all over world to show support for refugees and migrants.
This year Punjab Emergency Service in collaboration with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is also trying to promote culture of peace, reconciliation and social cohesion in Pakistan by empowering youth and harnessing their energies in positive manner. Taking to holistic approach the initiative will engage youth to build resilience to disasters caused due to natural hazards, stresses as disputes and issues which are source of disintegration in community, violence and affects the cohesion of society at large.
Initially, this program shall be started in two regions of Pakistan that are Islamabad/Rawalpindi and Multan with aims to engage 3872 youth (18-29 years) in the period of 3 years in two phases. First phase includes mobilizing the youth for promoting peace and social cohesion, using national volunteering and engaging UK Diaspora Volunteers. 36 Youth Volunteers Community Youth Facilitators (master trainer) will be recruited in each phase. This is an opportunity for existing Rescue Mohafizs (Volunteers) registered and trained by Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122.
These selected Community Youth Facilitators (CYFs) as master trainer by VSO shall also be registered with Punjab Emergency Service as Rescue Mohafiz and member of Community Emergency response Team (CERT) and also undergo the capacity building training on mediation, dialogue, dispute resolution, social accountability, social inclusion, & gender and resilience approaches along with emergency preparedness and disaster response. The purpose of the training is to prepare master trainers as active citizens for promoting resilience and social cohesions in their own and host communities. CYFs shall be living in the host homes, which will promote cross-cultural experience and enable peer-to-peer learning.
Furthermore, CYFs shall contribute to Pakistan youth Initiative (2015-2016) which includes tackling domestic violence, promoting interfaith harmony, resolving community disputes through sports, creative arts, community dialogue, poetry, awareness, raising and community dispute resolution processes. These collective efforts/ actions by the community members and youth peace, social cohesion and resilience would definitely be promoted at community level contributing to integration and cohesion at National level. Its bottom up approach at community level where selected youth along with defined community shall be connected to religious leader, local leaders, representatives from public private sectors, academia, media government agencies and partner staff for mentoring coaching and seeking support in their actions.
Although Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122 is already working for Safer Communities & Contributing towards Sustainable Development Goals by mobilizing the power of humanity through Rescue Mohafiz corps of volunteers. Rescue Mohafiz Program has been started on 5th December 2016 and uptill now more than 95000 Rescue Mohafiz have been registered to establish Community emergency response Teams in all union Council of Punjab. Moreover, 30,000 Rescue Mohafiz have been trained on internationally certified course for community response that is Community Action for Disaster Response Course (CADRE) in1688 Union Council of Punjab. The organized corps of Rescue Mohafiz (volunteers) of Punjab Emergency Service along with Community Youth Facilitators VSOs collective efforts would be great example of together ‘Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All’ in the country.
The community can play vital role in term of showing solidarity with refugees and migrants as it is about bringing people together and remembering them the common concern that is humanity. We need to be together to transform fear into hope. In short Unity, Faith and Discipline the motto of our Founder of Pakistan Quide-e-Azam need to be followed to be united and putting collective efforts for positive contribution for promotion of, peace and prosperity in the country.
Besides that, community members who are ready to volunteer their services must feel about the refugees and migrants with physical and economic insecurities to their lives and contribute through organized platforms available for the community at National and International level like Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). Such activities through organized platforms always help individuals to nourish their capabilities for change for resilient communities and contributing towards Sustainable Development Goal.
—The writer is head of Community Safety & Information at Punjab Emergency Service, Rescue 1122 and can be reached at deeba_uroog@yahoo .com