January 13th, 2021, Dubai (UAE)Lahore (Pakistan): Tangible gains for democracy is only possible through equal participation of all members of society. With half of the Pakistani population comprising women, not only does it matter to include them in the politico-economic conversation, good governance direly needs women involved in the democratic process for sustainable results. Keeping this in mind, the Women’s Digital League (WDL) – a social enterprise working for economic empowerment and equal opportunities for women – recently launched a groundbreaking initiative ‘Capacity Building of Future Decision-Makers on Civic Engagement and Political Participation in the Face of Conflict’.
Winning the prestigious grant by the US Department of State’s Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF), the WDL’s initiative focusing on ‘Women, Peace and Prosperity’ strives to empower young women with knowledge about their rights and ensure these rights are granted to them; thereby enabling stronger democratic and civic processes.
The project commenced on November 9th, 2020, with the first Focused Group Discussion (FGD) taking place involving a select number of female students from six districts of Azad Jammu Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Through a wide array of capacity building activities and dialogue sessions, the WDL aims to enable over 300 young women to be exposed to the process of political participation as well as understand the importance of female engagement and contributions in good, democratic governance.
Talking about the immense learning, one of the participants, Iqra Iqbal said: “The entire session was very informative. I have gained so much knowledge not just about law, but also women’s rights especially in politics. I now understand how important it is for people as part of a community and society as a whole to know and understand the laws and participation in the political process of a country. I would like to thank the organizers for enabling and empowering us.”
The project’s activities include Focus Group Discussions and Capacity Building Workshops, Online Module Development as well as Web-based Knowledge Management Platform. The project’s learning activities will culminate with a two-day digital conference and will be open to a wider audience. Planned to be held on January 16-17, 2021 owing to the COVID19 situation, eminent political activists and leaders from Azad Jammu Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been invited as keynote speakers for the two-day event. These include Humaira Masihuddin (Advocate High Court), Maham Ali (Dawood Foundation), Annie Zaman (Global Voices) and Usama Khilji (Bolo Bhi).
The digital event will include keynote speeches and breakout sessions, which will focus on important topics such as Role of Citizen Journalism, How Leaders Deal with Cyber Harassment, Building Communities, Leadership, Storytelling/blogging, civil participation, staying safe online, forming alliances and many more.
Talking about the Program, WDL’s Founder, Maria Umar said: “The positive response from participants of the WDL-AEIF project “Women, Peace and Prosperity” is very encouraging. Empowering young women with knowledge of their rights and the importance of their participation in the democratic processes of their traditionally conservative region is an important step in reducing the gender imbalance in civic and political matters that has long prevailed here.”
To attend the event, register: https://forms.gle/HKK4MVfvQHRdZAzL8
About Women’s Digital League:
Women’s Digital League is a social enterprise working for the economic empowerment of women, and creating equal opportunities for them.
About The U.S. Department of State’s Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF)
The U.S. Department of State’s Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) project competition supports alumni initiatives that promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges.
Since its inception in 2011, the AEIF has funded nearly 500 alumni-led projects around the world through a competitive global competition.