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Pakistan Times Staff Report, June 14, 2004

ISLAMABAD: The ‘Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW)” project co-funded by Oxfam GB and EU and launched at a local hotel here Monday hoped that women will be more secure in their homes and public places as a result of initiatives to be taken under the project.

The project will be spread over next three years in terms of capacity building, awareness and other activities.

The speakers at the launching ceremony said with country wide programme activities, women will feel that there is an enabling environment to report and address situations of violence. These changes would mean an overall change in attitude and behaviour in the society on violence against women issues.

EC's View

In his opening remarks, Michael Dale, Head of Operations, Delegation of the European Commission in Pakistan, said under European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the European Union (EU) enables vibrant civil society organizations to undertake programmes to uphold democratic norms, human rights and the rule of law in their respective societies.

Michael said first EU budget line is for the projects identified through calls for proposals, with an EC contribution of not less than € 300000, which is implemented by civil society operators including local authorities (but excluding official state, national and international governmental organisations or institutions). Similarly, the second budget line is for micro-projects under € 100000 administered directly by European Commission Delegations in the countries concerned.

Areas of Priority

In her welcome address, Farhana Farooq Stocker, country director Oxfam GB said, promotion of gender equality at grassroots and at policy levels is one of the three areas of priority of Oxfam’s work in Pakistan. The other two areas are humanitarian assistance and sustainable livelihoods for the asset poor small producers, particularly women

Farhana said women in Pakistan live with very hostile legal and policy environment, in the form of Hudood Ordinances in addition to the prevalent customary laws and practices entrenched in the ideology of patriarchy

Nasim Sherin

Nasim Sherin, project manager Oxfam GB, said the three-year programme would focus to end violence against women and reduce violation of women’s rights through awareness raising, strengthening support systems and advocating for changes in policy and legislation.

Since this project is being implemented through partner organizations, EVAW expects to achieve objectives through capacity building of national NGOs, enabling them to work more effectively on VAW issues.

Sherin said the partners in this project included: Seher and Root Work (RW) in Balochistan, Sindh Development Society (SDS) and Pirbhat Woman Development Society (PWDS) in Sindh and Amal in Punjab and South Asia Partnership and Shirkatgah.

Dr Shahina while responding to a question, said the EU has added some more areas in the EIDHR programme. Now the EU’s micro level budget lines would be available for projects addressing strengthening of democracy and rule of law in Pakistan’s context.

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