Social Welfare Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and UN Women launch program on
Women Leadership in social reconstruction with assistance of Embassy Of Denmark, Islamabad

Peshawar, 27th November 2014 – As Pakistan continues to face the effects of complex emergencies and natural disasters, very little importance has been given to the role of women in the process of social reconstruction. This was highlighted by several speakers during the launch of UN Women program on “Women Leadership in Social Reconstruction”, which is being financially supported by the Government of Denmark.

The launching ceremony was hosted by the Social Welfare and Women’s Empowerment Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in collaboration with UN Women.

Addressing the participants, Danish Ambassador Mr. Jesper Moller Sorensen stated that “every time there is a disaster or conflict, it is the women who immediately come on the frontline to take care of their families – whether it is the young, the elderly, the sick or those living with disabilities. They are the most affected. They need the most support.” The Danish Ambassador also highlighted that in vulnerable countries such as Pakistan, it was even more critical to understand the gender implications during and after natural disasters and crisis “By integrating gender concerns in the mainstream planning of peace, security and humanitarian actions, we do we not only promote women leadership and participation – we also build communities and countries in becoming disaster resilient”, said Ambassador Sorensen.

Ms. Sangeeta Thapa, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women Pakistan, highlighted that the programme aims at responding directly to equality principles expressed in Pakistan’s Constitution, CEDAW and others signed by the Government of Pakistan within the framework of Social Reconstruction. “To us, social reconstruction process means to facilitate the reintegration of dislocated persons into their homes and villages and revitalize socio-economic activities in the region. In the context of gender, it means empowering women enough to be able to affectively participate in the decision making process at all levels of relief and rehabilitation”, said Ms. Thapa. She appreciated the Government of Denmark for extending its support, which would give continuity to UN Women’s work in ensuring that peace and security, and humanitarian actions are shaped by the leadership and participation of women, including grass root women.

Dr. Mehar Taj Roghani, Special Advisor to the Chief Minister of KP on Social Welfare and Women’s Empowerment stated that serious gaps existed in emergency preparedness and disaster risk management capacities. She appreciated the collective partnership to overcome these gaps in promoting stabilization, peace and security in the region.

Other eminent speakers also spoke about the important role of women in social reconstruction processes, including Ms. Meiraj Hamayun (Member of Provincial Assembly and Member Women Parliamentarian Caucus of KP), Ms. Nafeesa Khattak (Member of National Assembly), Mr. Munir Azam (Commissioner of Peshawar) and Mr. Syed Hidayat Jan (Secretary, Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department, Government of KP).
Women leaders from the community shared painstaking testimonies from the field with a request for women representation, participation and leadership to be ensured in social reconstruction processes - and peace initiatives in areas of complex emergencies and disasters.

The funding from the Danish Government will be utilized to support UN Women’s program to work with the Government of Pakistan and key partners in enhancing synergies so as to facilitate regional networking and partnerships; support advocacy for in-country and cross regional programming on integrating gender concerns in peace initiatives; undertake Training for Trainers on Gender and Peacekeeping with civil armed forces, as well as strengthen capacity for gender responsive policy frameworks and action plans.