Three Components of Social Sector
SRSP initiated its education programme in December 1995 through establishing adult literacy centers on a pilot basis in Charssada district. The communities realizing the benefit of education asked for support from SRSP in planning a programme to directly address their need for education of their children. Consequently in 1996 a survey was carried out to assess the need for education services. Out of 200 community organizations from two of SRSP regions there was a need for 129 schools. Keeping in view the availability of funds 30 schools were established with the financial assistance of SAP I in District Mansehra and Kohat.
Keeping in view the increasing demand of education from the rural communities and scope and nature of work, SRSP formulated an education strategy in March 2002 which promises the maximum participation of girl child and strengthening the existing structure of the government education system.
SRSP has a multi-prong strategy for qualitative and quantitative expansion of its education program.
In July 2002, SRSP and the United Nation's Children Education fund (UNICEF) also signed an Agreement for the Implementation of the Project titled as "All Children in School (ACIS)". The objective was to increase enrollment of children at primary level with a prime focus on girl child through the involvement of both the government and communities.
Based on the experience gained through community based schools and in the light of education strategy, SRSP has engaged devolved structure of district government in developing district education plan. SRSP so far has assisted district government of Mansehra, Kohat and Abbottabad in developing DEPs.
With the assistance of Education Sector Reform Assistance-USAID SRSP has been able to implement DEP in district Upper Dir with the project title as "District Education Plan". The project period is two years commencing September 2003. The project goal and objectives are designed in the light of targets set by the Government of Pakistan in Dakar convention 2002 for Education For All EFA. Under the project interventions 200 PTAs have been mobilized and trained. As per the advocacy and communication strategy developed by SRSP, EFA forums at District, tehsil and Union Council level have been notified and established to address education related issues in an effective manner. Adult literacy centers (3 women and 2 men) have been established. SRSP has published six monthly newsletter tilted "Ranra" (pushto word means light) depicting education related issues and problems of the district.
Till date SRSP has established 111 community based schools in district Kohat, Mansehra, Chitral, Abbottabad, Peshawar and Upper Dir with the assistance of UNICEF and Learning For Life (UK based Organization) benefiting 6647, where gender comparison stands at 70%. SRSP has developed a cadre of trained teachers; more than 400 teachers have been trained in teaching methodologies and subject-specific training. About 127 teachers have been recruited in community based schools of SRSP.
In future SRSP is looking forward to be more focused on the performance issue of the schools. In this regard linkages with other organization working in education sector have been established. Training manuals will be developed keeping in view the need of the teachers. Implementation of school development plans will be carried out with the assistance of PTAs, local government and the communities.
The general objective of health programme of SRSP is "to decrease the preventive health problems of the communities".
SRSP's health strategy is essentially a three-pronged one i.e.
1) Creating health awareness among the rural community;
2) Training of women and men health workers;
3) Establishing linkages with existing health services, mainly government.
The Health Focus Programme works within the social organization framework of the SRSP, i.e. MCOs and WCOs are actively involved in selection of community health workers and these work through the village forums in disseminating health messages, delivering health services and linking up communities to health service agencies (government and non-government).
Community Health Awareness
The health awareness component largely concentrates on educating women about basic health and hygiene practices. This is done by the SRSP health assistants in the regions as well as through trained health motivators and community health workers i.e. both women and men (F/MHWs).
Community health awareness includes discussions and observations regarding community health issues in order to enhance the capacity of MCOs/WCOs to respond to their problems. Health messages are disseminated in MCOs/WCOs meetings by the health workers, as well as by SRSP staff in the Managers' Conference, Health Workers' Conferences and Health field days.
Training of Health Workers
The training component of the health programme concentrates on developing community health workers and health motivators in MCOs and WCOs. This component is largely executed through the staff of government Health Department as resource persons. The SRSP health staff are instrumental in curriculum design for the training, they are also responsible for contacting government and other resource persons who take training sessions, e.g. the Dost Welfare Foundation delivering lectures on problems of drug addiction, a serious issue in the NWFP and Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP) supporting SRSP health component in bringing about awareness on reproductive health issues. The health workers also establish linkages with government health infrastructure and other NGOs.
The role of the female health workers includes clean and safe deliveries, general health education, and facilitation of linkages with health and family planning outlets. MCO/WCO members according to specified criteria, ensuring the confidence of the community and their willingness to serve the community at large, nominate trainees. After receiving training, the health workers are paid for their services by the community, either in cash or kind.
Linkages with Health Agencies
An important objective of SRSP's Health programme is to establish and strengthen linkages between the MCOs/WCOs and government health/ NGO health facilities. In this regard, the government is extremely co-operative and has highlighted the need to work through these grassroots forums.
In the family planning sectors, the SRSP links up WCOs to the Government Population Welfare Department (PWD) and Family Planning Association of Pakistan by undertaking joint visits to WCOs with their staff.
The linkage component of the programme also includes facilitating the work of government EPI teams at the village level as well as holding field days during which various resource persons deliver lectures on health issues to MCOs and WCOs.
Uptill January 2005 more than 900 Traditional Birth Attendants TBAs have been trained in the communities through a 15-days UNICEF training module for TBAs training. Additionally, over 97 Male Health Workers (MHWs) have also been trained.
Similarly Health Field days have been carried out in all the Five Regions i.e Peshawar, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Kohat and Charssada. WCOs have been linked with the Family Planning Association of Pakistan FPAP and PWD. Expanded Immunization Campaigns have been carried out in the selected programme areas. Medical Camps have also been arranged for the benefit of rural poor.
Gender And Development
SRSP's mandate is to work for the ustainability and equitable development, which addresses the marginalized. It was felt that the gender programme would be helpful in focusing on the vulnerable, the need for integrating women issues into the programme was realized and a shift from WID to GAD took place. This was initiated during Novib's eight years programme. The objective of the gender programme was to create gender sensitive environment within the organisation, and to facilitate the process of gender mainstreaming. Gender and development is an integral part of SRSP's operational strategy. The organisation has been working on gender sensitivity and mainstreaming since mid 1996.The shift from WID to GAD promises a departure from symbolic involvement of women in development as beneficiaries to their meaningful participation in mainstream development as change agents alongside men. The SRSP's strategy was of three levels--- organizational, programme and externally through networking in order to promote learning and cooperation. It shifts the programmes focus from women to gender relations making the power relations between women and men the point of convergence. Based on the strategy, a gender policy was formulated in consultation with the staff members in November 2001. In order to implement the gender policy in a proper and effective manner, gender groups are established both at Regional and Head Office level to act as gender movers to facilitate the process of gender sensitivity and provide continuing momentum for strengthening of women's programme. The purpose of forming these groups is to internalize the gender concept and programme within the organization and to create ownership of the gender policy both at organizational and programme level. Gender Policy works at three levels i.e organizational, programme and external level.
SRSP encourages the recruitment of women staff at all levels, tilldate about 30% of women staff is appointed at mid-professional level, in addition the BoD is also chaired by woman. It is also one of the policy actions that the women staff would be given preference to higher grades for initial few years relative to men. In most of the cases the social organization units are headed by women. Similarly one of the regional offices is also headed by a woman. Internship programme for women in non-traditional sectors e.g. engineering and finance have also been initiated both at Head Office and Regional Level. During the selection of all the new staff at SRSP, gender sensitive indicators in test and interviews are also given due consideration. Apart from casual/formal leave, 2-3 months maternity leave has also been practiced both at Head Office and Regional level to facilitate the women. Paternity leave for 10 days is also provided to the men staff for their convenience. For the convenience of the married women, it is always preferred to appoint them near their residence. One of the purposes of SRSP's gender policy is to create gender-fair environment21 in the organization. To serve the purpose all the staff members are enabled to keep the balance between their work and family life, specifically women are given relax hours to finish their work and leave the office in time. They are provided separate vehicles for field activities and are fully supported to complete their tasks within working hours. At each region women (non-local) are provided separate hostels equipped with basic facilities and adequate security. Women staff members with children are provided day-care facilities. Gender groups as mentioned above also ensure gender-fair environment, by addressing all the issues regarding the violation of gender policy. Capacity building of the staff regarding gender awareness and sensitization is the part of the policy. Training modules for the staff at both the support and mid-management are developed . To assess the effectiveness of the modules, a two-day workshop strengthening a gender friendly environment in SRSP was arranged by Social Sector and Gender Section for the support staff of SRSP. Orientation sessions about the gender policy are also imparted to the new staff to create the ownership of gender balanced approach and gender-fair environment in the organization.
At the programme level the policy seeks engendered actions in mission statements and the entire programme components. According to the policy, each programme component should include 40% resource allocation for women communities. As per the statistics as of January 2005, gender comparison stands at more than 30% in each programme component. As per the implementation plan of the gender policy exclusive gender awareness training for both M/WCOs activists are conducted in order to create ownership of gender balance approach at grass-root level. In this context gender sessions are taken in Activists Basic and Leadership, Management and Skill Training LMST, but due to socio-cultural constraints and mental blocks of the people about the whole concept it is very difficult to impart exclusive gender awareness training specifically in MCOs. However where the environment is conducive, such training courses are imparted. Exposure visits have been carried out for women activists to development agencies, networking and conferences. Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) provides income-generating opportunities to both men and women community members. Different trainings imparted under EDP include linkage development, collective marketing & management, skill enhancement etc. In case of women communities the physical infrastructure schemes regarding drinking water and sanitation have proven to be the most beneficial and useful, as they are subject to fetch water from the far-flung areas. The gender policy therefore gives emphasis on the separate PIs for women communities, so as to address their needs in a more effective manner. SRSP with the assistance of Asian Development Bank ADB also has launched a project titled as "Gender and Governance" for the capacity building of local government representatives with prime focus on women councilors of District Abbottabad and Haripur. The project aims at formulating strategies to strengthen local level governance for effective delivery of public services and to promote accountability and transparency at the grass root level. The project was run for a period of 18 months during which the implementation activities were provided by Rural Support Programme Network through SRSP while Aurat Foundation played its role for policy making. After the project ended successfully in March 2004 ADB extended it for a period of about six months i.e., from July to December 2004.
At the external level the organization seeks to strengthen the partnership with other organizations working according to the Gender and Development (GAD) approach. To serve the purpose SRSP is the active member of Gender voices forum, which as the name implies works to address the gender related issues. SRSP has twice been nominated for Gender Voices Forum. A newsletter "gender voices" is also published by SRSP during its tenure as a secretariat of the Gender Voices forum. Similarly, exposure visit (various organizations of Punjab working in gender) for the forum members was also arranged by SRSP in collaboration with IUCN. SRSP with the assistance of IUCN has published booklets on different themes such as education, physical infrastructure, Micro-finance, livelihood and environment according to the gender perspective. SRSP also serves as a gender resource person to different civil society organizations and academia.
Capacity Building Programs
At Srsp Capacity building programs are held at two levels
At the Organization level SRSP is making effort to help SMO's to develop their capacity
- Participation of SMOs in Teacher’s Training organized and conducted by Sudhaar, Lahore for teachers’ training
- Exposure Visit to non-formal community schools of SAHE, Lahore
- Exposure Visit & Participation in School Development Plan in the project area of Sudhaar i.e. Kasur, Sialkot and Lahore
- Participated and performed in Interactive theatre workshop in interactive Resource Center Lahore
- Participated in Proposal and Report writing workshop organized and conducted by HRDI, Islamabad
- Participated in regular training and refresher about Multigrade teaching organized by SRSP and conducted by ABES, Rawalpindi.
At the programme level, SRSP is making efforts to build the capacity of both the VEC members and the teachers.
- Trainings have been conducted to aware the VEC members about their roles and responsibilities. In order to manage their activities they have been given training about accountancy and financial management.
- Teachers have been trained about joyful learning to make the learning environment more child friendly.
- Uptill now 19 Female and male teachers have been trained in multi-grade joyful learning in both Kohat and Mansehra Region. While ---no. of female and male members of VEC have been trained in both the mentioned regions.