SIALKOT - A non-profit organization with the support by "National Endowment for Democracy" has begun implementation of "Women's Political Empowerment Programme in Sialkot (Punjab) Pakistan".

The initiative aims at sensitising and mobilising the volunteers and respective communities at 40 locations in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils by improving their knowledge, and awareness for pragmatically advancing the process of women's empowerment on sustainable basis.

Volunteers will perform a catalytic role to make women in their respective localities active and dynamic partners of mainstream democratic electoral process. The trained volunteers will motivate the men in their 40 locations to let the women be active part of the mainstream electoral process and mobilize them to take bold and daring initiatives i.e. casting votes after evaluating the suitability of the contestants and their party manifestoes/programmes and in pursuance of their own liking.

The selected women having interest, potential and track record of performance will be adequately trained to act as polling agents so that election process may move forward smoothly without any malpractices, the NGO said.

Its president added that volunteers and women activists will run campaign in their respective localities to increase women voters' turnout by 20 percent to 60pc in general elections due to be held on July 25, 2018.

Setting trends of accountability of elected representatives and public officeholders at the hands of their women electorate in rural areas is an innovative practice introduced in the project. Equipping women and community representatives with relevant knowledge and skill for assessing performance on the basis of objectively verifiable assessment indicators has also been proposed to make the process result-oriented, he added.

He said that for laying hands on practice, it has also been proposed that practical sessions for accountability of the elected representatives and/or public holders should be convened to let the elected representatives and/or public office holder realize that they are answerable to the voters.