Experience sharing seminar on “Improving Post Shelter Lives of the Women Survivors of Violence” held in Karachi
Rozan, a non-government organization, in collaboration with the Women Development Department Sindh, held an experience sharing seminar on “Improving Post Shelter Lives of the Women Survivors of Violence” in Karachi on September 14, 2023.
Rozan is implementing the Women Development Department’s project titled “Improving post-shelter lives of women survivors of violence” in two districts of Sindh (Hyderabad & Sukkur).
Gender-Based Violence remains a critical global issue, affecting millions of women worldwide. Survivors of GBV often face significant challenges even after escaping the immediate danger and seeking refuge in shelters.
Officials and staff from government institutions such as Darulaman, Women Development Department (WDD), Home Department, NADRA, Public and Private microfinance and lending institutions, Sindh Child Protection Authority, Social Welfare Department, Women Chamber of Commerce, Zakat, Baitulmal, Auqaf, and Ushr Department, BISP, academic institutions, particularly from Agriculture University Tando Jam, TEVTA who have collaborated with Rozan on the project, community members, including women protection committees, who have been part of the project’s awareness sessions and capacity-building activities, experts and practitioners working in the field of gender-based violence and women’s rights attended the seminar.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Rafia Bangash, CEO AABAD, said that establishing shelters was a tough job and not acceptable to the community at large due to some anti-women practices and lack of confidence in the existing structure of shelters established by the Government. “We tried to build the bridge existing services, to improve the quality of services provided to the GBV survivors. This experience brought closer the available structure and the newly established shelter and reduced the gaps and loops in service provision.”
“No doubt the services are recognized and appreciated at all levels. By providing training, developing manuals, and sharing best practices, the two-way communication worked out for the improvement of services provided to the survivors. It rebuilds the image of the community and their trust level is enhanced in the available services. However proper implementation of laws and the need for quality services still exist,” she said adding that the support mechanism must be continued and refreshed with past learnings.
Madeeha Waheed, Project Manager, Women’s Program Rozan, shared organization’s experience of working with Darulamans and other Government and private shelters during the last 25 years. She also shared the achievements of the 3-year project implemented in collaboration with the Women Development Department. Ms. Madeeha added that they want to generate a discussion on the possible approaches, strategies, and best practices that can be utilized for supporting the Women Development Department in the implementation of the policy. A regular feature so continuous improvement in service delivery can be ensured.
The project, therefore, intends to create an enabling environment for women survivors of violence, with community and institutional support, so that they can live their lives according to their best potential without any threat of further violence. The project achieved this result through by providing trainings to service providers to improve the quality of services, undertake critical follow-ups and refers survivors for post shelter support.
Ms. Marvi Awan Deputy Director Women Complaint Cell Hyderabad said that Capacity Building training are very important for service providers. Every survivor’s needs are different depending upon her situation. A service provider never be judgmental because it can harm survivor psychologically and discouraged them for reporting and trusting institutions.
“We have observed differences in our dealing with survivors and received very positive results and feedbacks. Achieving trust of the survivors is the first step to resolve her matter and that survivors become motivation for other GBV survivors to raise voice against injustice and report.”
Ms. Nuzhat Sherin (Chairperson, PCSW) said that this is a comprehensive policy that covers almost all important aspects of the post-shelter phase of a survivor. She also stressed on role of the commission as well.
Presentations on strategies for promoting acceptance and support from local communities towards survivors, showcase of Handmade Vocational Material by DUA survivors, were also key features of the event.
Wali Muhammad Qureshi Deputy Director Women Development Department, Sindh said, Safe Houses are temporary, and they are just for 72 hours. If a woman reconciles and changes her mind and wants to go with her husband, she can go back to her husband. He elaborated that Darulamans were handled by social welfare, but now they are handled by WDD. “We now have a complaint cell in which we provide psychosocial counseling to the residents, along with other cases of violence against women.”
Fouzia Yasmin, Deputy Director of Programs Rozan, also spoke.
The Experience Sharing Seminar was based on the following key objectives: Facilitate the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned through the implementation of the project in Hyderabad and Sukkur, highlight successful approaches, strategies, and best practices utilized throughout the implementation of the project and in addressing violence against women through media campaigns and community-level initiatives, and supporting post-shelter lives of women survivors, share the most significant challenges and mitigation measures of the overall project in the targeted districts Hyderabad and Sukkur, showcase the vocational work of survivors, and foster collaboration and networking among stakeholders, organizations, wholesale and retail or markets, and individuals committed to supporting GBV survivors in their post-shelter journey.
The seminar served as a platform for survivors, stakeholders, and experts to come together, and share experiences, Knowledge, challenges, and best practices related to supporting women survivors of GBV in their journey towards rebuilding their lives after seeking shelter.
It is hoped that the implementation of the post shelter policy will assist women survivors of violence, in the pursuit of social & economic justice and encourage them to break the cycle of abuse. It is also hoped that this policy will ultimately contribute towards violence against women mitigation and prevention in Sindh. Hence, this seminar will play an important role to not only support the mandate of WDD but ultimately provide relief to the survivors of GBV and help them to live a dignified life. (PR)