Strengthening Social Cohesion and Resilience through Educational Initiatives – Third Phase (2016 – 2017)
The Social Cohesion and Resilience Programme is one of the very innovative initiatives around the globe, focusing on education, social cohesion and resilience in respective communities.
The initiative aimed to bridge the growing gaps between various segments of the society . Our Ulema E Karaam, Religious Scholars and teachers are very important segments of the society and are actually the true leaders of respective communities as well ,therefore they can play a very visible and vital role to contribute towards the noble cause of social cohesion and resilience .
Similarly all the children are equal “Rights” holders, irrespective of their association with School, Madrassa or any other institution. Our children must be provided with required learning opportunities to become true ambassadors of peace, social cohesion and prosperity in society.
PEAD initiated the program in 2013 , with the intention to seek support from Ulema e Karam, Community members and teachers, for the envisaged goals and to learn about the possibilities of collaboration to minimize the isolation, polarization, division, prejudice and stereotypes between/among groups of the society, in the vulnerable contexts.
The initiative has received an overwhelming support from the all the stakeholders including Ulema, community elders, madariss and state run schools, for the successful implementation of the envisaged activities.
Just and Sustainable Peace in Pakistan(2013 – 2017)
Just and Sustainable Peace in Pakistan was a project that was initiated in the year 2013 by Peace Education And Development (PEAD) Foundation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
The detailed intend of the initiative was to, mobilize male and female policy makers and opinion leaders from civil society and religious groups, as well as from Government, especially the education sector and the media, to address and discourage religious-political confrontation and the exploitation of religion both at provincial and national level.
At district and local levels, the program facilitated dialogue and cooperation between female and male members from civil society organizations and faith-based groups representing all religions and sects to prevent violent conflict, promote peace and strengthen social cohesion.
The project included activities e.g. review process of existing work on curriculum change, consultations with stakeholders at provincial and national level, training of text book writers and publishers and consultations with religious, public and private sector education institutional managements with the over-reaching goal of engaging with national and provincial stakeholders to address religious extremism and promote a just and peaceful society in the Province.
Women led Interfaith Action for Promotion of Social Solidarity (2015-2017)
PEAD Foundation has been engaged in efforts for de-radicalization, countering violent extremism and interfaith harmony since its inception in 2002. Drawing on several years of experience with civil society and faith communities, PEAD Foundation proposed and implemented a peace building initiative for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) titled as “Women led interfaith action for promotion of social solidarity”.
The overall goal of the project was to empower women from different faith communities to lead initiatives for promotion of social solidarity in the province.
The project also aimed at:
– Increased participation of women in social solidarity initiatives in Peshawar district,
– Improving Inter and Intra group relations and,
– Local actors contributing to improve status of laws and policies addressing key driving factors of disagreement.
The project was undertaken in three phases i.e. from May’ 2015 – December’ 2015 (Phase-1), January’ 2016 – December’2016(Phase-2) and January’ 2017 – December’ 2017 (Phase-3). The project primarily focused to build the capacities of potential women leaders, university students, leaders from faith communities and other stakeholders from diverse professional backgrounds to enable them to take effective steps for establishing sustainable peace in the region.
As a result of the efforts undertaken under the umbrella of the project, a network named as “Khawateen Aman Ittehad” was also launched under the leadership of potential women leaders from the district.
Joint Social Action for Equal Rights and Opportunities in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (2016-2017)
The project, Joint socal action for equal rights and opportunities for minorities of faith and belief in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – JSA was initiated in 2016 with focus on district Peshawar, of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The project was implemented with an intention to address social and economic issues of the Minorities in the district.
PEAD Foundation adopted concurrent approach to implement the planned activities at grassroots level by direct engagement of people from diverse faith representation in Community Peace Groups (CPGs) as Minority Rights Defenders/Advocates (MRD/A), who were tasked to serve their communities after being involved in various capacity building trainings.
Under the project, Joint celebrations of socio-religious festivals and solidarity visits of religious leaders from different faiths and sects to each other’s holy places were organized to promote social cohesion and respect for diversity. Efforts were also made to set up an Early Warning Mechanisms (EWM) to prevent and address religious conflicts.
Similarly, under the project relevant duty bearers were reached through consultative sessions, advocacy/lobbying meetings and support was sought on major issues faced by the minority communities i.e. the implementation of job quota, social discrimination, Political mainstreaming on Minority Women and their demand for the formation of Provincial Commission for Minorities.
Advocacy and Lobbying efforts were carried out on the above stated issues and support from print and electronic media was also sought in the process in shape of Radio programs, TV shows, media forums, articles and press-conferences on issues faced by religious minorities.
Activities undertaken under the project also strived to improve women participation in all project activities by gender mainstreaming and it was ensured that at least 50% women participation in project interventions. Similarly, the MRDs were tasked to improve protection of minority women from any form of human rights’ violations in their respective project locations/districts.
Similarly through leadership capacity building of minority women, efforts were made to improve the participation of minority women in local social cohesion initiatives while advocating with the relevant district and provincial authorities about the need for implementation of national and provincial laws that protects the rights of all citizens.
Social Cohesion and Resilience Through Educational Interventions (2014- 2016)
This 18 month project was initiated with a unique approach of working with the religious seminaries of Pakistan in the districts of Peshawar, Swat and Kohat of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Through the medium of art, calligraphy and critical discussion forums, the project aimed at addressing critical issues which are linked with religious sector education while also bringing them in close contact with public school children.
The project aimed at:
(a) increased engagement and interactions between children and youth from different backgrounds across ethnic, cultural, linguistic, social-economic
(b) increased capacity among children, youth, and madaris teachers for critical thinking, communication and improved understanding of tolerance, respect, and trust.
(c) increased resilience and social cohesion in madaris by building the capacity to deliver child friendly education and improved school safety and preparedness.
With the support of Provincial Education Department and Madrassa Boards , a total of 30 Religious Institutions (Registered Madaris)@ 10 per district and 30 state run schools @10 per district (with 40 :60 Gender Ratio) participated in the project activities in the mentioned districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
While religious leaders from Peshawar , Kohat , Swat and other parts of KP also took part in consultation workshops for Social Cohesion and Sustainable peace building in Pakistan.
Young Democrats Academy (YDA)
This project was implemented by Peace Education and Development Foundation (PEAD) and had establish a Young Democrats Academy (YDA) comprised of national and provincial parliamentarians under the age of forty. The initiative in its initial phase provided the skills and political incentives for the new generation of politicians to pioneer enhanced standards of democratic governance at the constituency-level. This approach is now being complemented by the establishment of two-way communications platforms to facilitate regular dialogue between voters and their elected representatives, enhance accountability, and stimulate active citizen participation in the political process, especially among youth, women and religious minorities.
The project aimed at ensuring the participation of all citizens in democratic processes by promoting enhanced accountability of elected officials to their constituencies to be more effective parliamentarians with the specific objectives:
(a) Young Democrats Academy members constructively engage with constituents, and seek solutions to issues raised and
(b) Citizens utilize opportunities for engagement with local parliamentarians participating in the Young Democrats Academy to raise issues of concern.
The project was undertaken in Karachi, Jamshoro, Umer Kot, Kahirpur, Charsadda, Upper Dir, Mardan, Buner, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Kasur, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan and Jhang districts.
Rights of Expression, Assembly Association and Thought (REAT) Network
The REAT Network is an independent network of civil society organizations dedicated towards working for the promotion and protection of the rights of minorities in Pakistan. REAT Network, serves as a platform for the minorities in Pakistan to share the issues, grievances and challenges faced by them while also serving as a forum to raise collective voices for their rights.
REAT has 23 member organizations from across the country with presence in all four provinces. The member organizations are based in 10 districts and the Federal Capital, Islamabad.
Peace, Education and Development (PEAD) Foundation was the national media partner for REAT Network and has engaged in all forms of media to highlight the issue and persecution of minorities in the country.
Political Empowerment of Minority Women
Peace Education and Development (PEAD) Foundation initiated a project for political empowerment of minority women which aimed to empower minority women by building their capacity and enhancing their knowledge about democracy, governance, human rights and other critical areas.
The project envisioned to:
(a) build the knowledge and capacity of women from non-Muslim communities for political participation and
(b) to promote increased political representation of non-Muslim women in elected governments at the local, provincial, and national levels.
The project saw women from minorities taking an active part in grass roots democracy to represent and address their problems.
For thes project, PEAD is worked in three major cities including Lahore, Faisalabad, and Islamabad with 60 short-listed potential women leaders.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/politicalempowerementofminoritywomen
Af-Pak Youth Dialogue (2015-2016)
The purpose of this national level project was to promote youth-led citizen-to-citizen dialogue process between Pakistan and Afghanistan to serve as a bridge on issues of bilateral interests between the two countries. PEAD Foundation brought together 8 youth representatives from across the country with a similar group from Afghanistan in the one-year long project.
The youth, from a diverse background, interacted not only with each other but also with government officials, political leaders, civil society, media and academia on each side of the border. Youth from the two countries also had dialogues and discussions with each other through video conferences and social media to work jointly on action plans developed to achieve the project objectivevs.
PEAD Foundation believed in stronger people-to-people contacts amid existing mistrust between the two countries and saw an opportunity to link youth of the two countries with each other for this purpose through this project.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AFPAKYOUTH
Youth for Democracy and Social Change:
Realizing the need to engage young people in socio-political and economic development of the region as means to opportunity, PEAD Foundation initiated Youth for Democracy & Social Change project.
The project trained 547 youth (both male and female) from various districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province and from six agencies of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on concepts of democracy, rule of law, civic engagement, conflict mitigation and media advocacy.
YDSC trainings covered all major cities including Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda, Swat, Swabi, Nowshera, Buner, Kohat from KPK while students from FATA represented Mohmand Agency, Kurram Agency, Khyber Agency, Orakzai Agency, Bajaur Agency and Malakand Agency.
Through the project, youth in the KPK and FATA regions were helped in r understanding the significance of their participation in socio-political and economic life.
As a result of the initiative the youth are now more knowledgeable about civic participation and democracy, conflict mitigation, and media engagement.
Pakistan Center for Excellence – PACE (2012-2014)
PEAD Foundation launched “Pakistan Center for Excellence (PACE)” project to advocate the re-conceptualization of teachers’ role as “harbingers of change” for peace, non-violence and democratic consolidation and sought a positive behavioral change.
The primary objective of this project was:
a) To sensitize and train teachers to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes to think critically,
b) Promote a culture of tolerance and pluralism by educating their colleagues and students on the significance of peace, non-violence and social cohesion, and
c) To create a counter narrative for sustainable peace in the society.
PACE initially trained 100 Master Trainers (teachers) from selected schools in KP and FATA who in turn reached out and trained 2000 teachers and Over 10,000 students in the districts including Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat, Charsadda, Bunir, Swat, Malakand, Lower Dir and areas of FATA i.e. Khyber Agency, Mohmand Agency, FR Peshawar, FR Kohat, FR Bannu and Bajaur Agency.
As a result, school teachers and students have put into practice the concepts of critical thinking, conflict resolution, communication and peace building while students have also engaged in their communities as their leadership skills developed.
Youth for Social Harmony (November’ 2014 – February’ 2015)
PEAD Foundation adopted an integrated approach towards interfaith harmony and promotion of a culture of tolerance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province by working with youth from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.
With the duration of 03 months – November 24, 2014 to February 28, 2015 – the project worked with 75 youth from different educational institutions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by initially providing and improving their knowledge and skills on Universal Human rights, Respect for Cultural diversity, Social Action to strengthen Social Cohesion and Democratic Development.
The later part of the project dealt with leading Youth towards action through their thoroughly developed Social Action Plans for advancement and development of their respective communities regardless of color, creed, gender and any other feature or characteristics which make them stand different from the rest or in easy word as minority.
Pak-Afghan Women Forum for Peace And Democracy (2013-2014)
The aim of the project was to increase women’s political participation, enhance their leadership and representation in electoral process and assemblies’. The project’s objective was to create linkages of women with their peers in other countries who are facing similar struggle, providing them mentor-ship from experienced women who have leaders in their fields and through skill building techniques designed to target their identified needs.
Women’s Democracy Network was part of IRI and WDN and aimed to bring peace and democracy under one roof with main focus on women’s role in society. The motivation behind creating WDN (part of IRI) was to bring peace and democracy under one roof and institutional focus was on how to support the role of women in peacebuilding and democratization.
YOUTH VOICES – II (2013 – 2014)
The project “Youth Voices – II” was initiated by the Foundation with an objective to educate young people in the fields of governance, democracy, leadership, conflict resolution and team building skills.
The project aimed at capacity building of 500 youth representatives’ of 20 different institutions of KPK and FATA by organizing training sessions of mixed ability groups from these selected institutions. It is was an attempt to inculcate moderate behavior and critical thinking amongst these representatives specifically about governance, respect, human rights, conflict management and media engagement.