Mohtarma Nigar Ahmed, founder of Aurat Foundation and an iconic leader of women’s rights movement in Pakistan and South Asia.
She was also one of the founding members of Women’s Action Forum which she helped established in 1982 at Lahore. In 1986, She along with her close friend Shahla Zia founded Aurat Foundation. Her strenuous efforts made Aurat Foundation grow from a two-rooms women’s resource center at Lahore to a national women’s rights organization, spread across all districts of Pakistan.
|Name:||Aurat Publication & Information Service|
|In Urdu:||انفارمیشن سروس فاؤنڈیشن|
|Founder:||Nigar Ahmed and Shehla Zia|
|Phone:||Tel: (051) 2820028-30 (3- lines)|
|Fax: :||(051) 2820032|
|Address :||First Floor, Huma Plaza, Fazl-ul-Haq Road, Blue Area, Islamabad|
|Head Office:||House # 35, G Block,, Gulberg III, Near Firdous Market, Lahore 54000, Pakistan|
|Tel: :||(0423) 5858654, 5858657 – 9 (3 Lines)|
|Karachi Address ::||D-3/1, Block-7, KDA Scheme No. 5, Clifton Karachi 75600 Pakistan|
|Tel::||(021) 35824694, (021) 35874718, (021) 35830195|
|Fax: :||(021) 35864885|
|Peshawar Address ::||House No.358, Khyber Colony No.2, Tehkal Payan, University Road, Peshawar 25000, Pakistan|
|Tel: :||(091) 5711790|
|Fax: :||(091) 5704708|
|Quetta Address ::||House No. 100-B, near JUIF Office, Chaman Housing Scheme, Airport Road, Quetta, Pakistan|
|Tel: :||(081) 2821282|
|Fax: :||(081) 2820957|
|Type:||women’s rights organization|
- Established in 1986, as a national, non-profit, non-governmental organization under the Societies’ Registration Act 1860, Aurat Publication and Information Service Foundation (Aurat Foundation/AF) is committed to create widespread awareness and commitment for a just, democratic and caring society in Pakistan, where women and men are recognised as equals, with the right to lead their lives with self-respect and dignity. Over the last 28 years, Aurat Foundation has come to be recognised nationally and internationally as one of the leading institutions creating, facilitating and strengthening civil society groups and networks for promoting trust and collaboration among citizens to mobilize public pressure for women’s empowerment in the country.
- Aurat Foundation has its Head Office in Islamabad, and five regional offices in the provincial capitals in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar ,Quetta and Gilgit, and 37 Field Offices. Further, it has a countrywide network of voluntary citizens’ groups and individual activists in 128 districts in the country. These groups include Citizens Action Committees (CACs), Resource Groups and Aurat Foundation Resource Centres (AF-RCs) and Information Network Centres (INCs).
- The Foundation has also emerged as a major support institution for civil society organizations working for social change at the community level.
- AF’s overall programme is considered conceptually and strategically brilliant in bringing together at the district level and in networks volunteer groups of citizens, activists, councilors, professionals and government officials that give AF’s program its vital political development energy. Few organizations in Pakistan or elsewhere achieve this.” (Robert Mitchell, Mid-Term Review Report for CIDA.) :
- Aurat Foundation is now a national organisation with one of the largest district level networks of voluntary citizens groups and organisations based in the 110 districts of Pakistan . This network enables AF to move with speed throughout the country for advocacy for its causes and to assist women to solve their immediate problems at the district level.
- Aurat Foundation has had a very enriching experience being able to implement some very innovative projects that have brought recognition for the Foundation.
- Over the last 25 years the work of Aurat Foundation has developed into an over-arching Programme for ‘Strengthening Civil Society for Women’s Participation in Governance in Pakistan’.
- This Programme is operationalised by the three key Programmes of the Foundation:
- The Information Programme for Grassroots Organization and Action by Women
- The Programme for Strengthening Citizens’ for Advocacy and Action for Women
- The Programme for Affirmative Legislation and Policies for WomenÂ
Aurat Foundation has a democratic, transparent and participatory governance structure, which best assures an independent organisation that is efficiently and effectively managed on scientific lines. The Memorandum of Association recommends a three-tier governance structure, comprising a 15 member General Body, a Board of Governors comprising of 9 members and an Executive Council headed by the Executive Director. Significant features of the governance structure are its system of checks and balances and the leading role given to Partnersâ€™ Networks and Staff of the Foundation.
It is a 15-member body which reviews the performance of the AF, elects the members of the Board of Governors, approves the Annual Reports and appoints the auditors.
Board of Governors
The 9-member Board controls and manages the affairs of the organisation and is elected every year from among the members of the General Body.
The 9-members Executive Council comprises senior management of AF and; it prepares policy suggestion for BoG, implements decisions of the BoG and ensures implementation of AF’s Strategic Plans and its operational programmes.
Organizational structure and staff
The organisational structure of AF is based on AF Core Group of Director at national and regional levels which includes Chiefs/Directors, Resident Directors, Managers, Programme Coordinators and Programme Officers in all five offices. There are Programme Committees in all AF offices to plan, review and strategies programme activities and create synergies, in addition to other committees, e.g. purchase committee, ethics committee etc.
AF Existing Projects 2010 – 2017
- Gender Equity Program – GEP (2010-2017). It is a grant-making programme being implemented in collaboration with the Asia Foundation, funded by USAID. It will extend over 400 grants to civil society organizations and governmental gender entities. It has four key objectives:
i) women’s access to justice and human rights
ii) women’s economic empowerment
iii) combating gender-based violence and iv) capacity-building of Pakistani organizations.
- AAWAZ Voice and Accountability Programme (2012-2017). AAWAZ is a five-year programme to strengthen democratic processes in Pakistan by making it more open, inclusive and accountable to citizens. It is funded by DFID and managed by DAI. The programme will be implemented in 45 districts across Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces by Aurat Foundation, SAP-Pk, SPO and Sungi Development Foundation.
- Social Mobilisation – Waseela-e-Taleem – BISP (2012-2016): Aurat Foundation is the implementing partner of Pakistan’s largest safety net program of Government, the Benazir Income Support Program. With the financial assistance by DFID, AF is undertaking child enrollment campaign under Waseela-e-Taleem component of BISP in 32 districts. The basic objective of the program is to assist the GoP in achieving MGD targets for universal primary education through conditional cash transfers to BISP beneficiaries. The program is aimed at mobilizing BISP beneficiaries (mothers) to enroll her primary school going children (age 5-12 years) in primary schools and qualify for RS.600 cash transfers per child per quarter. Piloting in five districts in 2012, the program extended to 32 districts by 2014. AF is currently operational in Larkana, Sukkur, Benazirabad, Karachi South, Thatta and Qamabr Shahdadkot in Sindh Province; Rawalpindi, Narowal, Sialkot, Khushab, Rahimyar Khan, Bhawalpur and Bhwalnagar in Punjab Province; Charsadda, Kohat, Mansehra,Malakand, Noshera, Bannu and Haripur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province; Loralai, Musa Khel, Noshki, Jhal Magsi, Gawadarand Awaran in Balochistan Province; Skardu, Gilgit and Diamir in Gilgit-Baltistan Region; Mirpur, Bagh and Kotli from AJK region respectively.
- Policy and Data Monitor on Violence against Women – PDM-VAW (2011-2016): Under the project funded by Trocaire, AF monitors and documents incidents of violence against women and; works towards pushing them higher in priority on the agendas of major political parties and decision-making bodies.
- Leverage in social transformation of elected nominees – LISTEN (July 2013- June 2017): leverage in social transformation of elected nominees project aims to promote active citizenship among 1200 women and youth in 30 targeted districts by building their capacities to strengthen women voices through dialogue and engagement with, and oversight of the elected provincial and national assembly representatives till 2017.
The current proposed intervention is also a step ahead towards appraisal of elected leaders and promoting watchful and vigilant follow up of the women and men voters on the performance of their elected leaders in the event of community demands.
This project is implementing in the 30 districts of Pakistan i.e. 15 districts of Punjab, 9 districts of Sindh, 3 districts of KP and 3 districts of Balochistan.
- Institutional Capacity Strengthening of Women Development Department, Punjab (September 2015 March 2016): This project is designed to facilitate a process that leads to women empowerment while exploring the possible modes for carrying out some reinforcing initiatives to collaborate with the Women Development Department of Government of Punjab. It is funded by Oxfam Pakistan.
Project illustrative activities include: situational analysis and need assessment on capacity building needs, develop road map-women empowerment initiative 2016, implementation strategy for WDD, provision of human resources and institutional capacity / resources for WDD, training at district level of relevant institutions to strengthen existing mechanism in Muzafargarh district.Â
Aurat Foundation works primarily with the collaboration of civil society organisations and also acts as a support organisation for them. AF sees these organisations as channels of communications, as local support groups assisting women to be proactive at the community level, as citizens groups with the potential to play a vital role in advocacy and action for womens issues and for citizens rights in Pakistan.
In addition to the informal partnership networks that exist at all levels for the work of Aurat Foundation, more structured networks with partners exist at different levels:
- The Information Network Centres (INCs) are the institutional structures of the Information Programme for Grassroots Action and Organisation, through which the Foundation reaches out directly to 36,400 women in 2600 rural and urban communities in 100 districts throughout Pakistan. Around 680 local organisations provide support to the INCs at the local level.
- The Network of the Citizens Action Committees (CACs) in 70 and 110 District Coordination Committees of Pakistan is the institutional framework, which enables the Foundation to carry on its Programme for Strengthening Citizens for Advocacy and Action. The CACs include members of various district-levels civil society organizations, professional groups and concerned individual citizens.
- The AF’s Resource Centres (AF-RCs) in 70 districts of Pakistan are the institutional framework for enabling women councillors to act as effective representatives of their constituencies in the respective councils. These centres also strengthening the above programmes for citizens. These Centers are Strategically linked with Resource Persons Groups to provide information and training.
- The Legislative Watch Groups (LWGs) are the institutional framework for the Programme for Affirmative Legislation and Policies for women. They comprise members of citizens organisations working for political and human rights, political party women and members of the media.