ISLAMABAD-Three-day annual conference concluded on Saturday  with a consensus demand to pull out the rural women from the growing poverty caused by COVID-19 by ensuring opportunities to enhance their technical skills to connect with the markets and with their inclusion at all decision-making levels by enhancing their political participation.

This was the 13th Annual Conference organised by PODA-Pakistan in connection with International Rural Women Day that is celebrated on 15th October every year. The theme set for the conference was “Rural Women’s Leadership in Climate Change Adaptation, COVID-19 Response, Governance and Disaster Preparedness.”

Acclaiming and understanding Pakistan rural women’s struggle for their rights, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara said, “you have the power to bring change in your lives.” 

The EU Ambassador was of the view that the rural women needed to adapt new viable and innovative techniques for their economic sustainability. She advised the participants to make networks and consortiums for being able to get funding in future. Briefing about a project that is underway, the EU Ambassador informed that the EU has allocated 6.6 million Euros for capacity building of civil society organizations in Pakistan for which the participants should explore online EU platforms for further information.  

Addressing a gathering of rural women representing more than 80 districts of Pakistan, the Ambassador said that you need to come out of the small box that has been assigned to you traditionally to explore and discover the opportunities and the world around you. 

Terming CNIC registration the foundation to get rights cherished by the citizens, the EU Ambassador said we have made it mandatory for the local organisations to help women to get their CNICs. “If you don’t have your identity documents, it means neither you were born nor dead as no documentation means you were not meant to be counted in policies and decisions concerning to you.”  

The EU Ambassador paid rich tribute to the rural women participants for their persistence, resilience and untiring efforts for their basic rights. 

“We are also changing the design of our projects to ensure visible and major participation of women to take decision concerning to them,” the EU Ambassador Androulla Kaminara said.

President PODA-Pakistan Sameena Nazir said we need to alleviate women from poverty and for this economic independence is must for them to achieve as it would ensure their responsibility and rights in the society. 

The ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara distributed awards among the rural women and other persons who contributed to the achievements of PODA-Pakistan. 

The rural women’s gathering approved a comprehensive list of resolutions for the next year by raising their hands. They demanded that the rural women should be provided trainings in disaster preparedness to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the disasters and equip them with skills to work on community development during rescue, emergency relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction.