ISLAMABAD: ‘We Can’ campaign in Pakistan launched two critical documents: ‘Impact Assessment Report’ and ‘Strategy Paper’ on Tuesday at a local hotel in Islamabad after completing its six years in March 2011. The campaign dedicated these two significant documents to International Women’s Day (IWD) as March 2011 also marks 100 years of IWD.
The objective of the report was to reduce the social acceptance of violence against women (VAW) in Pakistan. And the key findings of the ‘Impact Assessment Report’ indicate that “a very high percentage of Pakistanis i.e. 86% feel that VAW in any form is wrong; 97% feel that husband and wife should take major decisions together while 90% feel that men should share housework as it is the responsibility of both husband and wife - which signifies that no change is small” informed Amna Qadir, the author of the report.
Speaking on the occasion, Neva Khan, Country dir. Oxfam GB said that “We Can Campaign has successfully generated over 350,000 Change makers across 41 districts in Pakistan inculcating awareness on gender equalities with positive shifts in paradigms towards all forms of violence against women.”
The report defines a change maker as one who “commits to personal and to talk to 10 other people about VAW” and indicates that 85% of the circle of influence feel that they are change makers.
Dr. Noreen Khalid (Manager EVAW and Gils Education) “With the help of these change makers, millions of people have been enabled to address violence in their homes and other spheres of life.”
Harris Khalique, author of Strategy Report 2011-2015 explained the model of the next campaign which includes four steps respectively “Multiplying the change, societal change, policy change and individual change.” He informed that the target groups for the campaign will be “School children and teachers, lady health workers, police officials, celebrities and common citizens.”
Javed Hasan Aly, an expert said that “violence against women is a symptom of the disease and not the disease itself and the real causes are ignorance, feudalism, dogmatic obscurantism in the mindsets. He was of the view that “we need to fight against these causes in order to revive a society introduced by Holy prophet (p.b.u.h) where women enjoyed equal right as men.”
The six-year ‘We Can’ campaign aims to deal with violence women endure daily, both within their homes and in the larger society. The campaign has raised large scale public awareness on bias, inequality and violence against women, particularly domestic violence, and is a trigger for a new consciousness, attitudinal change and enhancement of rights.
Bushra Zulfiqar, writer and activist believed that “ending violence against women is not a matter of one-off celebration; rather it is an attitude that has to be taken to homes, communities, workplaces and society at large.”