Rahnuma-FPAP’s experience over the years has affirmed the right to development not only as an end in itself but also as a means to taking forward its social development activities which promote the alleviation of poverty and improve the status of women and youth.
Pakistan ranks 123rd in the world on Gender Development index, even lower than Human development index, indicating that the access to opportunities, resources and benefits between men and women are skewed. Also, the population in severe poverty is 25%. The socio-economic disparities, inflation rate, higher poverty level in the country, together with gender discrimination, impedes the population generally and females, specifically, access to education, health and other development services including FP&RH. The incidence of teenage and adolescent marriage is high (10.2%). Rahnuma-FPAP is empowering women and addressing existing gender economic and social inequalities through Poverty Alleviation Program (PAP). The project was started in 2002 in collaboration with Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited (KMBL) as part of private public sector partnership. Another activities of the project is capacity building of project beneficiaries on economic empowerment.
Building on NGO-Bank long partnership in Poverty Alleviation Program and to enhance the quality of education and improve the school learning environment for the deprived masses in Pakistan, Rahnuma-FPAP collaborated with Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited program “Education for Khushhali” under CSR initiative. A large number of furniture (desks, chairs, tables and white-boards) was provided to underprivileged and remote village students at Govt Primary School Sohan Valley, Hattian Bala, Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K). Rahnuma-FPAP arranged a session on Health and right Education for the students with an aim to enable them to improve their overall well-being. In addition to this, under women empowerment program 220 women and girls from Haripur and nearby villages are being provided with training/skill of cutting, stitching, sewing, knitting and embroidery training in one year at Women Kato Development, Haripur. Objective of this collaboration is to improve the lives of rural women to fight against poverty.
Improving FP&RH and Maternal neonatal & child health for Afghan Refugee communities:
As per UNHCR estimates, 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees live in Pakistan with another 2 million living without formal documentation. As per UNHCR reports (2021) there was a continued need for increased international support to guarantee protection for these communities. Evidence indicates women Afghan refugees face significant health care challenges, mental health and psychological trauma. FP&RH services are a critical need for these communities. Existing services in refugee settlements in Pakistan are likely to be placed under considerable strain by an expected significant increase in refugee flows in the coming months. During pandemic it was observed that FP&RH is no longer a national priority and evidence suggests that emergency maternal and reproductive health services are badly affected in Pakistan. There was an increase in the incidents of sexual and physical abuse and spousal violence during pandemic. These circumstances are even more acute for Afghan women in refugee settlements, where access to health facilities is limited.
Through this particular project “Improving sexual and reproductive health, and maternal and child health for Afghan Refugee communities in Pakistan” Rahnuma-FPAP strive hard to improve the utilisation of high-quality and equitable FP&RH information and services by the most vulnerable community groups, with a focus on innovative approaches and restoring services that have been impacted due to pandemic. Through this project Rahnuma-FPAP provided high quality and equitable FP&RH services through medical camps in Afghan Refugees camps spaning in six districts (three districts in KP (Nowshera, Charsadda and Haripur) and three districts in Balochistan (Killa Saifullah, Loralai and Dukki).
The objective of this project was to save lives of women and girls through timely provision of quality FP&RH services through a multi-pronged, community led approach in four conflict prone areas in Afghan Refugee settlements. Under this project we conducted 240 mobile medical camps benefitting more that 10 thousand clients while providing them high quality and equitable FP&RH services in six districts. Moreover under this project established Women Friendly Spaces (WFSs) within Afghan Refugees’ settlements to strengthened and improve privacy & quality of care for GBV survivors in targeted districts. Through these WFS we ensured the supply of essential FP&RH and infection prevention commodities including essential medicines, labs reagents, clean delivery and dignity kits through mobile services units.
Another component of this project was the strengthening the capacity of service providers while organizing comprehensive training on comprehensive FP&RH, GBV, infection prevention and quality of care. Moreover conducted coordination meetings with Afghan Refugees Commission (ARC), Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and local Health Authorities for supporting Afghan Refugees. We also organized community awareness sessions on GBV, and women empowerment FP&RH issues.
Reproductive Health Program in Crisis and Post Crisis Situations (Sprint I, II and III)
The SPRINT Initiative (Reproductive Health Program in crisis and post-crisis situations) was designed to address gaps in the implementation of the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health, a set of priority activities to be implemented at the onset of an emergency. The main objectives of this initiative was to develop partnership & coordination with public sectors and others stakeholders, and it was aim to ensure that the health sector/cluster play a leading role in the implementation of MISP. This initiative is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) under the Australian Government and managed by International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) to ensure access to essential lifesaving FP&RH services for women, men and children in times of crises, when services are most needed but are not prioritized by key humanitarian responders. Under this project, workable solutions formulated and humanitarian workers trained to deal with issues relating to pregnancy, childbirth, reproductive health.
During 2021, Rahnuma-FPAP under SPRINT Project strengthen coordination and engagement meeting with District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in four district (Muzaffargarh, Nowshera, Quetta and Badin) and for this purpose conducted coordination meeting with Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs) at all provincial levels.
Rahnuma-FPAP regularly organized the Reproductive Health Working Group (RHWG ) meetings at federal and provincial levels participated by all stakeholders. Under the SPRINT initiative we conducted capacity building trainings of Rescue 1122 Staff members on new MISP Modules. Furthermore the Rescue 1122 staff were oriented on humanitarian work and goals (inclusion of GBV prevention and response humanitarian principals). We also developed Emergency Preparedness Plans (EPP) and Emergency Response Plans (ERP) and strengthened partnership on FP&RH, Disaster Rapid Response (DRR) with humanitarian network to strengthen coordination for emergency preparedness and response. Moreover conducted community awareness sessions for preparedness on FP&RH during crises and emergency at all provincial levels.
Rahnuma-FPAP conducted youth peer educators orientation training on MISP in (Punjab & KP) to build the capacity of Youth Resilience Groups and Youth Officers on FP&RH during humanitarian settings. Furthermore on the basis of these trainings formed Youth Resilience Groups in five regions (Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi, Islamabad, Muzaffarabad, and Gilgit Baltistan).
Responding with Essential FP&RH Provision and New Delivery Mechanisms (RESPOND):
The main objective of this project is to improved utilization of high-quality and equitable FP&RH services by the most vulnerable community groups with a focus on innovative approaches and restoring services that have been impacted due to pandemic. This project achieved high-quality and equitable FP&RH services through already functional service delivery channels.
Through telemedicine and alternative service delivery models (home based care, self-care, etc.) it was insured that all segments of society (women, men, and young people) have access to digital health services during the pandemic. We also conducted awareness raising activities through radio, campaigns, TV, SMS, and social media
During 2021, 47 Mobile Service Units/Camps organized while providing FP&RH services to more than 3000 clients/patients. Moreover 37 mobile medical camps organized under the Afghan Refugees Component, total 2138 clients/patients.
Rahnuma-FPAP identified four Women Friendly Spaces (WFSs) in Afghan Refugees Settlement in consultation with Aghan community influential, local representatives of PDMAs to strengthening the provision of GBV services and referral pathways for GBV survivors. It is pertinent to mention here that for this purpose we conducted prior need assessment for infrastructure support to ensure the confidentiality and QoC at our static clinics as well as at WFSs in Afghan Refugee’s settlements.
Rahnuma-FPAP conducted project quarterly meetings with referral partners and held biannual meetings with all stakeholders (District Population Welfare Department, Health Department, and PDMA) to strengthen the scope of the project.
Humanitarian Capacity Development Centre (HCDC) Project:
Rahnuma-FPAP implemented a Humanitarian Capacity Development Project (HCDC) as capacity building lead along with other IPPF Member Associations (Yemen, Sudan, Maldives, Burundi, Burkina Faso and Central African Republic. The main aim of the project was to set up and implement IPPF’s Humanitarian Capacity Development Centre to build relevant expertise and capacity among MAs and Collaborative partners in at least 10 high-risk countries. The overall objective of the project is to improve the capacity of the priority MAs to ensure that agile and responsive systems are put in place to enable rapid (within 72 hours of disaster event/upsurge) lifesaving humanitarian response. It was an 18 months initiative to be completed in January 2022 which was later on extended till September 2022.
For the purpose of Humanitarian Capacity Assessment of priority MAs, three training and assessment tools for humanitarian package were selected and contextualized including Quick Assessment Tool, Quality of Care Tool and Framework Assessment Tool.
The contextualized and reviewed tools were shared with MAs and after data collection against tools by MAs, an assessment report was developed of each MA which was also very helpful in developing their Humanitarian Capacity Development Plans. To initiate the activities by Member Associations in their countries, all the 06 priority MAs were oriented and capacitated to develop their HCDC work plans and budgets. For the sake of keeping all the MAs work plan aligned with project core work plan, a specific work plan template was developed by Rahnuma-FPAP and shared with MAs as guideline. As per the template all the MAs developed their work plans and budgets which were reviewed by Rahnuma-FPAP and RHU program and finance teams. After finalization, all the work plans and budgets were shared with Humanitarian Hub IPPF for RFA signing and transfer of funds. RFAs were signed between concerned MA and they were transferred the 1st trench of funds resultantly all the 06 priority MAs are in implementation phase of HCDC activities in their countries as per their work plans.
Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of HCDC Project is a consortium of lead centers and Humanitarian Hub IPPF that is responsible to review progress and provide technical support. The TAC meets regularly on monthly basis and 12 meetings were conducted during reporting period which were very helpful in reviewing/discussing project periodic progress and challenges along with mitigation measures. A four days virtual (Zoom link) visioning workshop was organized from 22-25 June 2021 which was attended by 30 participants representing all the 06 MAs, RHU and Rahnuma-FPAP. Keeping in view the communication challenge of MAs, interpretation facility was arranged by hiring the services of a firm named Conference Interpreters Group (CIG) and participants were facilitated by providing interpretation in their native languages (Arabic and French along with English). Another firm named Innovision was also hired for virtual services arrangements of workshop. A detailed mapping of MA’s technical needs was done for each priority MA which was also shared with Humanitarian Hub IPPF for review and input. The mapping was also discussed in Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).
Technical support was provided to all the 06 MAs as per their needs for HCDC activities. A number of challenges were faced during implementation of project activities i.e. pandemic halted the in time inception and commencement of preliminary project activities which resulted in delays. In country inception meetings could not be possible due to pandemic situation. It was a full fledge 3 days activity with partners which was conducted through zoom video link. Visioning workshop was planned in Dubai but could not be conducted due to pandemic and it was also conducted remotely via zoom video link. Communication is the top most barrier as most of the MAs native language is either Arabic or French and are unable to understand and communicate in english.