Pakistan—AAWAZ Voice and Accountability Programme

Client: U.K. Department for International Development

Duration: 2012-2018

Region: Asia and the Pacific

Country: Pakistan

Solutions: Governance Fragile States

AAWAZ brings together some of the most important civil society development organizations in Pakistan: Aurat Foundation, Southeast Asia Partnership-Pakistan, Strengthening Participatory Organization, and Sungi Development Foundation. Together, they form an integrated network—managed by DAI—to strengthen Pakistani citizens’ capacity to collectively voice their priorities, bring about reform, and hold the government accountable.

AAWAZ works from the community to the national level to enhance women’s safe political participation, strengthen community cohesion and nonviolent dispute resolution, and build citizens’ capacity, particularly women and other disadvantaged groups, to influence the quality of government service delivery. It also has an investigative component, implemented by the Policy, Advocacy, Research and Results facility, that synthesizes information and findings from AAWAZ and similar programs to build a robust evidence base around community voice and empowerment with a view to initiating reform within Pakistan as well as contributing to global debates on the understanding of citizen empowerment and accountability.

Sample Activities

  • Train community members to raise awareness on the issues of significance of women’s role in decision making, participation of women in formal political processes and structures, gender-based violence, and voting rights and responsibilities.
  • Utilize AAWAZ Steering Committee for strategic guidance.
  • Develop a cadre of trainers from the district to village level who can help fellow citizens better understand social service provision standards, budget allocations, and how to aggregate efforts to advocate for improved quality.
  • Provide grant funding to conduct research and advocacy in key areas relevant to the program to engage multiple stakeholders in policy reform.

Select Results

  • Established the AAWAZ Steering Committee and Advisory Council to provide overall strategic direction and ensure coordination and agreement at the highest level of leadership of the partner organizations.
  • Registered more than 300,000 women as voters and helped another 2.65 million women receive national ID cards.
  • Engaged more than 227,000 members of organizations from the grassroots, district, provincial, and national levels, through AAWAZ forums.
  • Established the Policy, Advocacy, Research and Results facility, which includes development of a monitoring and evaluation framework and structure and the development of the Respond Fund strategy.
  • Awarded eight research grants under the Response Fund. These studies complement the baseline study and provide more in-depth examination of issues such as barriers to women’s political participation, roots of conflict, males’ perceptions of violence against women and the importance of service delivery in political parties’ platforms in the two target provinces of Punjab and KPK.
  • Instrumental in achieving three groundbreaking legislative changes in Punjab: Child Marriage Restraint Act 2014, Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961, and Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act 2016, in collaboration with civil society, legislators, and political parties.
  • Contributed to the passing of three landmark pieces of legislation: the Anti-Honour Killing Law, the Anti-Rape Law, and the Hindu Marriage Law.


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