UNDP’s WAJIB Project Empowers Over 4,000 Women In Balochistan

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ISLAMABAD: Funded by the German Embassy Islamabad, UNDP Pakistan has successfully implemented the Women’s Access to Justice in Balochistan (WAJIB) project. This initiative aimed to enhance justice mechanisms for women, girls, and transgender persons in Balochistan by strengthening connections between the provincial government and vulnerable communities to protect socio-cultural, economic, and environmental rights.  

Noteworthy accomplishments include the drafting of the “Women’s Access to Property Bill” for the province and the establishment of gender desks in Quetta and Pishin, which collectively processed more than 4,000 legal aid cases.  

To mark the project’s completion, representatives from the German Embassy and UNDP met with women leaders from Quetta and Pishin, along with officials from the Balochistan Commission on the Status of Women (BCSW), the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), the Women Development Department Balochistan, and the Social Welfare Department Balochistan.  

In her opening remarks, Ms. Van Nguyen, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Pakistan, expressed gratitude to the Government of Germany for their support and commended the women of Balochistan for their determination and commitment to leading their communities and engaging with key stakeholders to ensure gender-responsive policy making.  

“WAJIB supported the Provincial Multistakeholder Human Rights Coordination Network, which brought together local women leaders, human rights institutions, civil society organisations, legal experts, government departments, and vulnerable communities to ensure gender-responsive and gender-sensitive policymaking. This included developing action plans to implement existing policies and drafting new policies, such as Balochistan’s first gender-sensitive ‘Media Code of Conduct,’” she added.  

Following the opening remarks, a panel discussion highlighted the project’s achievements. Ms. Fouzia Shaheen, Chairperson of BCSW, spoke about her involvement, stating, “We have been part of the trajectory of this project, and I can confidently say that WAJIB has created significant space and capacity for gender-responsive decision-making, policy, and legislation development. The ‘Women’s Access to Property Bill’ in Balochistan is a point of reference.”  

Farkhanda Aurangzeb, Member of the Balochistan NCHR, emphasised the partnership between the NCHR and WAJIB, noting, “WAJIB not only supported the equitable inclusion of grassroots women’s voices in decision-making but also responded to emergency situations such as the 2022 catastrophic flash floods in Balochistan. This gender-sensitive response ensured women’s access to relief services in partnership with the National Commission for Human Rights.”  

In his closing remarks, German Ambassador Grannas spoke about the strength of WAJIB, highlighting, “Marginalised women and men, along with their communities, persons with disabilities, those from minority groups, and transgender people were included in every consultative process. This approach ensured that all stakeholders, particularly local women and their civil society organisations, equally contributed to stabilising at-risk communities.”  

UNDP’s DHL project works towards gender-equal governance at national and sub-national levels to support citizen-state dialogue and build social trust. DHL strengthens resilience in local communities, especially among vulnerable and at-risk populations, through communication, advocacy, and capacity development for governments, national human rights institutions, and civil society organisations.

 

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