Funding Line 2

Accountability Lab Pakistan

Project Name Gov-HER-nance – Ensuring Gender Equity and Socio-Economic Resilience during COVID-19 in Pakistan
Commisioned by Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country Pakistan
Implementing Organisation Accountability Lab Pakistan
Duration December 2021 – November 2022

The Challenge

Increased Impact of the Pandemic on Women: Lack of public awareness and inadequate health systems have resulted in marginalised groups in Pakistan being severely affected by the impact of COVID-19. Women in particular bear a higher risk of infection and other burdens related to the disease, given their roles in Pakistani society. In rural parts of the country, women are prevented from exercising their right to access healthcare or public health information due to cultural taboos and lack of reliable information.

Misinformations Leads to Increased Health Risks: Public health risks have been exacerbated by the increase in fake news, rumours and misinformation. Many rural women do not have open access to information and are also less likely to question rumours that are circulating in communities.

The Objective

The objective of the project is to strengthen the resilience of marginalized populations – especially women – in three districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province against the negative impacts of COVID-19, future pandemics, and health emergencies.

The Target Group

Three districts – Mardan, Nowshehra and Peshawar – were strategically selected for project implementation. Mardan and Nowshehra are among the most conservative districts where women’s participation in governance is negligible. In Mardan, resistance for vaccination has been one of the strongest and the number of vaccinated women is among the lowest. Peshawar, on the other hand, is the provincial capital that may help to create greater room for women inclusion across the entire province. Accountability Lab engages 60 female leaders in total, from across six most affected UCs (Union Councils) in each of the three target districts. The female leaders reach out to up to 1800 female community members.

About Accountability Lab

Accountability Lab was founded in early 2012 as an effort to work with young people to develop new ideas for accountability, transparency, and open government. The organisation is active in nine countries, following the vision of a world in which resources are used wisely, decisions benefit everyone fairly, and people lead secure lives. Their mission is to make governance work for people through supporting active citizens, responsible leaders and accountable institutions.

Website: accountabilitylab.org

The Approach

Training Female Leaders: The project works with female leaders from government, media, and civil society, who will be part of a training program focused on engaging with communities for advocacy on COVID-19 prevention. Therefore, the participating women get trained in methods to demand equitable rights with regards to health and support services; establish linkages and communication with the communities and the local government and to build advocacy campaigns for improved access to public service deliveries.

Raising Awareness on COVID-19 and on Women’s Rights: Additionally, awareness raising campaigns in communities on building COVID-19 related resilience and demanding women’s fundamental rights are initiated. Sessions are conducted in women education institutions, during town hall meetings and within the communities. The sessions help the female leaders to mobilize women community members and rally support behind their efforts to engage with the local government offices and representatives.

Spreading Verified Information: Alongside a dissemination of COVID-19 related information and updates through monthly bulletins, a digital media and radio campaign helps communities to stay abreast of verified and trusted information. These disseminations will focus on fact checking and mythsbusting, to be spread among the communities, as well as women’s rights related information, and details about where local, community-based support is available.

The Results

  1. 60 female leaders trained and mentored on advocacy and claiming public service delivery
  2. 1800 participants at 60 community awareness sessions on right to equal access to health services and government facilitated support programs
  3. 1.5 million people reached through digital media and radio campaigns to spread verified facts on COVID-19 related information
  4. 6000 newsletters on COVID-19, women’s rights and local support disseminated

Up until now, I was mostly unaware of my rights related to access of health, education and other facilities provided by the government […] By participating in the project’s activities, I have acquired relevant information regarding my rights and also on how to directly access relevant government departments for redressal of my issues.

Syeda Bibi

(Participant Community Awareness Session)
Nowshera