RACDO- A Journey of Women from Households to Mainstreams

If we look at the qualitative ingredients of impact, which are opportunity, empowerment and security, it can be seen that RACDO has worked most directly and most widely in regard with empowerment of women the trainings comprising of vocational skills, health education computer literacy and last but not the least political awareness along with raised voices for gender equity and participation, have brought the desired change on the grass root level and has contributed a great deal to the women employment opportunities.

These women have achieved the self-dignity and gained the confidence to speak out in community decision-making and have questioned traditional and rigid mindsets as well as practices at their own homes as well. As a result, a sizable number of girls and women have started to go to the city of Faisalabad for higher education, advanced training programs and well paying jobs, raising voices has significant role in a developing country like Pakistan. RACDO has been launching and coordinating awareness walks, seminars, workshops about environment, women participation in local body elections and rural voters, education and awareness.

RACDO- Women Empowerment Trough Political Awareness

In our areas, there are institutional barriers to the rural woman’s political participation and organization due to socio-economic, religious and gender constraints. There are covert as well as overt policy biases against women on local, provincial and federal government levels. Mandates in regard to women are either absent, weak or not enforced at all. In this perspective, RACDO identified and motivated eight candidates from Dhandra, Shadab colony and chak 232 JB, predominantly women, and contestants in local body election in 2003 with the help of mother committees and other like-minded inhabitants of civil societies. Individuals from different casts (Bradari), groups with local vested interests were predictably threatened by RACDO’s supported candidates.

Female candidates who were contesting election for the first time were not aware of the new system of election. RACDO arranged orientation sessions to inform and educate them about the new system and engaged them in this scenario including computerized National Identity Cards (NICs), voter registration, the importance of casting vote and proper usage of ballot papers. They were given training on how to appoint polling agents and polling station staff with the goal of avoiding any problems on the polling day. Seven of our candidates, including Nazims and Councillors won the local body elections. Without the support of RACDO it was not easy for women candidates to win these elections and carry out initiatives for women empowerment in the local villages.