From GCDF President’s Desk
The pervasive feudal mind-set in Pakistan along with a narrow interpretation of religion has spawned a culture of male domination resulting in imbalance and injustice in human relations. Most of the elected representatives from the rural areas are not interested in promoting education and human rights. This explains the lack of political will for these worthy causes. Globalisation, the communication revolution, the internet, the mobile telephone and especially the media more so the television together have acted as forces for change and spread of progressive ideas. Civil society organizations working for people’s welfare and empowerment as also international organizations have played a significant role in furthering process. International organizations and especially the UN agencies have in various ways provided valuable support to government.
In this scenario, 2012 was an eventful year and so have been the early months of this year. In 2012 we managed 10 CLCs (Five in Okara and five in Wagha) wherein we empowered 250 girls and women. In addition 500 girls and women were made literate and imparted rudimentary life skills. On the advocacy front we carried out sensitization on two axis i.e. gender and health. We satisfactorily executed assignments for WAPDA, TEVTA and School Education Department, Government of the Punjab wherein we sensitized over 1000 men and women.
GCDF kept abreast with International days and activities i.e. we participated and celebrated Global Campaign for Education (GCE), International Literacy Day, Teachers Day, Women Day and propagated EFA goals.
Other assignments handled on behalf of UNICEF were the preparation of a Directory of NGOs in the gender sector in Punjab.
Presently Baseline Survey funded by UNICEF of 120 Schools and NFBE Centres in DG Khan, Rajanpur and Bahawalpur is in hand. We are also preparing three posters and one UNICEF Newsletter based on their activities.
I was also invited on a number of occasions by GIZ in association with NAVTEC to give input on various skill development courses in Islamabad and Lahore.
You all will be happy to know that APBAE (Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education) has accepted us as an accredited member in Pakistan (there are only 10 members).
GCDF Projects for Promoting Gender Equality
GCDF has been working for the education and empowerment of women for a long time mostly in rural areas. More than 2 thousand women in a number of villages have been imparted literacy, life skills many of them income generation skills. During the last two years, it has also been active in organizing gender sensitization workshops for school teachers all over the Punjab province.
GCDF completed Community Learning Centres for women in a number of villages in the Okara and Lahore districts.
Besides literacy, the subjects and activities covered include life and income generation skills.
Computer and beautician skills were added on the emphasis of learners and community demand. These were quite popular and there was demand for more much Centres.
Rural women have the capability to reduce poverty. The fight against rural poverty depends on increased efforts to redress gender imbalances and empower rural women. As part of their ongoing work to make men and women equal partners in rural development.
GCDF organized a number of activities for rural women to make them confident and capable – providing literacy skills, life skills and vocational training at the CLCs and Literacy centres. These centres also focused on gender equality and women empowerment efforts. These centres provided a forum for promoting awareness about women’s rights, knowledge and practical tools for income generation.
By attending these Centres besides literacy and income generation skills, women’s awareness about their rights and responsibilities were increased considerably and one might well expect them later to intelligently participate in the community affairs.
When the project comes to an end at least one centre will to continue to serve as a place where women come for consultation, information, entertainment and meeting each other. Hopefully the local communitywill take over its management.
Adult Female Literacy Centres
Computer instruction for educated village girl had also been taken in hand to a limited extend. Computer and beautician courses were taken up for centres’ learners after 3 months.
Awareness raising programmes as indicated in the project were planned.
As for organizing the events a Public Meeting which was also attended by learners was held at the Education Complex at Dograikalan, Wagha Border and was addressed by President GCDF, Coordinator of the Project, Teachers and learners and local community activists including president of local welfare organization and his colleagues.
The initial teething troubles were more or less overcome including an unhappy beginning in one of the Wagha centre.
A promising factor is the beginning of a demand from local girls and women to be allowed to visit the CLCs for learning skills.
GCDF very much appreciates Community’s help and guidance in organizing Community Learning Centres in villages.
Global Campaign for Education
21-27 April 2013
Global Action Week is one of the major focal points for the education movement. It provides every national and regional education campaign with an opportunity to highlight one area of the Education For All agenda and make targeted efforts to achieve change on the ground, with the added support of education campaigners and millions of members of the public worldwide joining together for the same cause.
Theme: Every Child Needs a Teacher
61 million children are not in primary school. The biggest thing we can do to give them their right to education is make sure they have access to a trained teacher. To do this, we need 1.7 million more teachers – 1 million more in Africa alone.
Every Child Needs a Teacher is a campaign led by the Global Campaign for Education to demand that states act now to ensure every child has well-trained and well-supported teacher.
The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a movement to end the worldwide crisis in education. Thousands of development charities, trade unions and child rights groups make up the national coalitions in over 100 countries. Together we campaign and lobby governments to make sure they act now to deliver the right of every girl, boy, woman and man to a free, quality education.
GCDF joined the “Global Campaign for Education and organized a number of activities in Lahore in Global Action Week for Education.
GCDF arranged GCE meetings with village women, learners, teachers, children and community leaders at Vocational Training Centre at Village Dograikalan and with NGOs and other stakeholders.
International Literacy Day, 8 September 2013
UNESCO Islamabad has observed International Literacy Day in Pakistan. Current year’s theme for ILD was “Literacies for the 21st Century”. Like every year, UNESCO Islamabad supported various organizations including Federal and Provincial Governments (Departments of Literacy and Non-Formal Basic Education), and NGOs working for promotion of Literacy and NFBE in the provinces. Some 15-20 events were organized by the stakeholders all over the country with UNESCO’s support.
The events including advocacy campaigns, literacy walks, seminars, speeches and arts competitions and seminars with teachers’ associations. About 10 events were organized in the rural communities in order to mobilize the communities to send their young children (boys and girls) to schools.
GCDF also organised the International Literacy Day at the Adult Literacy Centre at Dograikalan with learners and teachers inviting community members to aware them about the importance of education and literacy for their children especially for girls.
Learners and teachers were spoke on this occasion and they expressed what they feel. They also shared their experiences and hurdles faced by them during the centre classes. Community members appreciated the efforts of GCDF for the promotion of literacy and vocational trainings for girls in their area.
At the end, Mr. President thanked the teachers, learners and community for their help and cooperation to run these centres.
World Teachers Day, 5 October 2013
World Teachers’ Day was held on 5 October to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. It also commemorates the anniversary of the 1966 signature of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers. The 2013 events had focused on the theme “A Call for Teachers”.
On the occasion of World Teacher’s day, UNESCO urged the government and society to stand and support teachers for their continuous development, professional competencies and lifelong learning, bringing social, economic and intellectual development to the nation.