BUILDING COMMUNITY RESILIENCE TO PREVENT CONFLICT (BCRPC)
The project addressed division & discrimination in Pakistani society and contributed to reducing support for religious-based violence and violent extremism, which enhanced the belief in values such as acceptance, tolerance, and inclusiveness.
The project also put in place countermeasures that promote opportunities for individuals with an alternative to, and reduced the appeal of, joining violent groups.
Objective 1: Enhance capacities of 600 young men and women of the districts Multan, Muzaffargarh and Khanewal to understand about Draconian Law and protection measures in six months
Objective 2: Form 10 Community Protection Groups (CPGs) comprising of 60 members (10 members/group) to mitigate risks of intolerance, respect for diversity and acceptance being faced by people of district Multan, Muzaffargarh and Khanewal in six months.
Objective 3: Train 60 members to minimize human rights violation incident in their localities particular if any religious based conflict situation emerges at district Multan, Muzaffargarh and Khanewal in six months.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
Awareness and educational training workshops for youth were organized in this phase. These workshops provided an insight into the blasphemy laws. Preventing religious conflict in context of the law shall also be discussed. These sessions build their capacities to deal with situation(s) that may emerge as prevention measures rather than working on post conflict efforts.
In the second phase of the project “COMMUNITY PROTECTION GROUPS (CPGs’)” were formed by local church, temple and mosque clergy, community members, alumni of the training sessions, social worker, youth leader and people from local government.
These committees will raise voices and take actions if religious conflict situations emerge in the community, to prevent conflict.
In the third and last phase of the project interventions, the committee members will be trained in the following area:
1. Human Rights
2. Peace Building
3. Conflict Resolution
The Blasphemy law is a part of Pakistan Penal Code, which was introduced in 1860 by the British Government to protect religious feelings. It maintains equality of all before the law. It promotes a sense of mutual tolerance, understanding and respect in the multifaceted society of Pakistan.
Contrary to this notion, it is widely believed that “draconian” Blasphemy Law is used for miscarriage of justice; it is exploited ruthlessly by fanatics to settle scores with rivals and by religious-political parties to gain political leverage over administrative apparatuses.
This project was unique and innovative in a way that "Blasphemy Law" as discussed and people were educated about it. Prior to this, people avoid to talk about this topic openly.
Direct participation in project activities:
- Youth (up to 35 years old): 700 (Male = 421 + Female =279)
- Non youth: 59 (Male = 38 + Female = 21)
Total number of people: 759
- Youth (up to 35 years old): 700 x 7= 4,900
- Non youth: 59 x 7=413
Total number of people: 5,313
The number of indirect beneficiaries is calculated by multiplying the number of members by 7 (the estimated number of members of each household).
OCD team, through prior experience, was aware of the fact that it will be difficult to mobilize and target female participants in some areas due to customary and cultural practices. So it remained a challenge in the current project.
The security concerns in Southern Punjab, Pakistan were also a challenge.
Lessons learnt 1:
OCD trained the project team to promote youth volunteerism. All youth alumni have been motivated, mobilized and are capacitized enough to impart training to their close associates.
Youth Volunteerism needs to be encouraged more by the civil society. As a strategy, the OCD shall amend the existing training manual with a topic on volunteerism.
Lessons learned 2:
The realization of the local communities that they could not rely on external agencies for their safety, rescue and relief. They are often on their own and should make an effort to prepare themselves properly for any disasters.
Lessons learned 3:
Small motivational action, not necessarily financial, can be used as a tool to attract youth.