Visit of Ms. Mikiko Sawanishi (Deputy Executive Head - UNDEF)
In April, 2022, Ms. Mikiko Sawanishi, Deputy Executive Head, United Natation’s Democracy Fund had visited FACES Pakistan for three days (19th April 2022 to 21st April, 2022) to witness the achievements and ongoing activities of the Safeguarding the Right of Transgender and Intersex Communities in Pakistan project.
During her visit, at Lahore, she had a meeting with District Education Officer (Literacy) Mr. Ghulam Ahmad Akash to have a deliberation on the FACES Pakistan’s initiative of establishing literacy centers for transgender & intersex persons. During discussion she appreciated and acknowledged the efforts of FACES Pakistan and ensured her support wherever needed for this purpose.
She also met with Director General Social Welfare and Bait ul Maal Punjab Mr. Mudassir Riaz Malik, Director Planning Social Welfare & Bait ul Maal Punjab Mr. Muhammd Sulaiman and Deputy Director NGOs Social Welfare & Bait ul Mall Punjab Mr. Safdar Abbas for a briefing on the first of its kind state of the art Transgender Protection Center being constructed at Garhi Shahu vicinity of district Lahore and shall be administered by the Social Welfare & Bait ul Maal, Punjab. Mr. Mudassir Riaz Malik shared the details about the in house
<p">capacity, the referral mechanism, the services and provisions as well as the prospectus for further interventions. Mr. Muhammad Sulaiman shared with her about the financial provisions and the limitations of the department in a comprehensive services delivery to the transgender persons. Mr. Safdar Abbas shared about the role of Social Welfare & Bait ul Mall Punjab in transgender certification in collaboration with NADRA. <p">Ms. Mikiko also met with the Director General Women Protection Authority Punjab, Mr. Muhammad Irshad Waheed who briefed about the opportunities of transgender persons inclusion in protection network. He ensured the maximum possible facilitation whenever any transgender persons’ access the toll free helpline of the department for any guidance, counseling and / or any legal assistance. He also shared about the mechanism and the process of complaint receiving, handling, managing and record keeping protocols to ensure the secrecy of record as well as safety of the complainant.
She also met visited Regional Headquarter of National Database Registration Authority where she had a detailed meeting with the Director General NADRA regional headquarter Mr. Syed Saqlain Abbas Bokhari and Incharge Mobile Registraion Vans Operation Mr. Muhammad Ali Chaudhry, who shared with her the provisions and registration process of NADRA and also deliberate about the concept and operations of Mobile Registration Vans specially for transgender persons. He also acknowledged the contributions of FACES
Pakistan for assisting NADRA in registration of Transgender persons at Lahore and Faisalabad. Mr. Bokhari added and extended the maximum and all time available support for FACES Pakistan in registration of transgender persons. He also presented souvenir shield to Ms. Mikiko Sawanishi and thanked her for visiting NADRA.
On Day two of her visit, she had a meeting with Election Commission of Pakistan Office where District Election Officer Ms. Huma Safdar shared with her about the electoral processes, electoral roles, electoral reforms made by the Govt. to include all the excluded segments of the society, especially for transgender persons. She also shared that in previous 3 general elections, candidates from transgender community also contested for public positions and the trend is progressing rapidly. She briefed on how the Election Commission of Pakistan is contributing for the inclusion of transgender communities by reducing election nomination fees and relaxing rules for transgender persons. Ms. Huma Safdar strongly appreciated and acknowledged the efforts and contributions of FACES Pakistan in awareness raising and bridging between Election Commission of Pakistan and the transgender communities.
Further to her visit, Ms. Mikiko also visited the Gender Unit (dedicated section for transgender facilitation, empowerment and skills development) at Fountain House where she visited artificial jewelry making section and stitching section specially dedicated and operated by the transgender persons. She was also briefed about the services that are being delivered to transgender persons in house and outdoor. Mr. Muhammad Ashraf, head of Vocational and Rehabilitation Center Fountain House Lahore presented a painting made by a transgender person inmate at Fountain House to Ms. Mikiko Sawanishi to remind her of her visit to Fountain House.
Ms. Mikiko then Visited FACES Pakistan Head Office for a team meeting and project briefing. Mr. Altaf Hussain Malik, Program Manager FACES Pakistan gave a detailed briefing on the project achievements and ongoing activities. Ms. Mikiko appreciated the commitment, the interventions and the achievements made so far. She also gave some professional inputs for the coming mega events and policy actions. Ms. Sidra Habib, District Coordinator for the project also shared on field experiences and the bottlenecks of accessing the transgender communities. Ms. Mikiko acknowledge her commitment and encourage her to keep continue good work.
On day third of her visit, Ms. Mikiko Sawanishi visited district Faisalabad where she participated and observed a meeting with local Transgender Activists. She appreciated the enthusiasm and noted their suggestions for further integration of transgender in various project interventions. After the meeting she had a short meeting with the Project team at the project office Faisalabad where she highly appreciated and encouraged the team for their tireless efforts in achieving the project objectives.
Next to the team meeting, Ms. Mikiko visited the Gender Support Unit of District Police Office where the Deputy Superintendent Police and head of Gender Support Unit Mr. Azeem shared with her the chronological development and services of Gender Support Unit
whereas incharge Gender Support Unit Ms. Sana Bilal shared the details of received cases and the redressal statistics. She also shared the contributions of FACES Pakistan and its team as well as their continuous engagement with gender support unit to protect transgender communities at district Faisalabad. Ms. Mikiko Sawanishi appreciated the services and requested a separate desk in the unit for transgender persons to lead them feel more satisfied and safe. She also talked to local media and reaffirms her support for the cause.
In the last hours of her visit, Ms. Mikiko visited district Child Protection & Welfare Bureau/child protection unit where District Officer Child Protection & Welfare Bureau Faisalabad Mr. Ejaz Aslam Dogar along with his team welcomed her and gave a detailed briefing about the complaint handling mechanism of the institute and how the aggrieved child recovered from the place, how he or she provided the care and protective services. Mr. Ulfat Abbas, Child Protection Officer shared about the child protection court and its procedure of intervention. Ms. Mikiko was told by the psychologist working over there that no such complaint from any transgender child received yet from any area of the district. It was suggested that the FACES Pakistan project team shall sensitize and aware transgender communities regarding the care and protective services of the Child Protection & Welfare Bureau to ensure the safeguarding of transgender children. Ms. Mikiko emphasized on awareness raising about the services of the institution among the masses of transgender persons.
Mr. Altaf Hussain Malik, Program Manager FACES Pakistan paid vote of thanks to Ms. Mikiko Sawanishi for her visit, her encouraging and positive professional contributions and her insight on transgender safeguarding as a whole. The Project team presented bouquet of roses to Ms. Mikiko to remind her about the pleasant moments she had spent in her three days long visit
Preparation and Implementation of 12 Social Action Plans at Districts Lahore & Faisalabad
With the active facilitation and mentorship by FACES Pakistan Project Team, after detailed discussions, elaborations and consultations,12 individual Social Action Plans for 12 towns including 9 towns (Nishtar Town, Gulberg Town, Allama Iqbal Town, Samanabad Town, Data Ganj Bakhsh Town, Ravi Town, Shalamar Town, Aziz Bhati Town, Wahga Town) of Lahore and 3 towns (Madina Town, Jinnah Town, Iqbal Town) of Faisalabad has been devised by local action groups (consisted of local social development activists belonged to local Civil Society Organization and individual local Human Rights Defenders who were previously trained and capacitated on the subject by FACES Pakistan), thoroughly reviewed by experts at FACES Pakistan, agreed, finalized and being implemented by same social activists within their concerned towns. A practicable execution strategy for these Social Action Plans at local level had also been discussed, chalked out devised and improved through learning, for smooth implementation.
These Social Action Plans delineates the details about the principles, practices and procedures to be implemented by the local action groups to manage, redress and
mitigate potential adverse social behaviors affecting the lives of transgender persons within the sociale. The principles, best practices and integrated cohesive approaches and actions had also been discussed, elaborated and laid down within these Social Action Plans that will help and contribute in achieving normalization and acceptance for transgender within their families as well as in society.
Concerned departments and individuals are also being convinced to extend their contributions in achieving collective objectives towards safeguarding of the rights of transgender and intersex persons in the project districts. Officials from National Database Registration Authority, Social Welfare & Bait ul Maal Department, Police, Judiciary / Lawyers, District Election Commission, Media Personnel, members of Civil Society Organizations & Human Rights Defenders, Emergency and Rescue Department and activists from Transgender Community & proponent Gurus are being focused specially. FACES Pakistan (in addition to the execution of project work plan) collaborating closely with a broad spectrum of local CSOs / HRDs. Continuous and precision focus on mitigating the grassroots level intersectional discrimination is evidently gaining attention but the ice is melting comparatively slowly and gradually. Ensuring the active participation, capacity building and technical / intellectual support to the local development actors has enabled them to realize and own these locally focused Social Action Plans for their concerned towns. These Social Action plans describes the realistic and practicable social actions and social advocacy at local level to ensure the inclusion, acceptance and equality for transgender with equitable approaches and encourages appropriate inclusive practices that will be adhered to and implemented during the various phases of its implementation.
The implementation of these Social Action Plans is providing a continuous and live experience cum capacity building opportunity to these development activists. They are learning with their experiences, with the sharings, with the bottlenecks and achievements. More people, including academicians are showing their willingness to be a part of this campaign.
Town level groups of volunteers has been developed and supervised by using digital spectrum, i.e. whatsapp groups of each town at Lahore and Faisalabad has been formed, online group meetings with each group are being featured on monthly basis. This arrangement is supposed to help in sustainability assurance
Provision of Training to Transgender Persons, their Gurus and Community Workers on Incident Reporting Mobile Application Usage
An Android based Incident Reporting Mobile Application for registration of the violations and unlawful incidents towards transgender persons to ensure the Safeguarding of Transgender & Intersex Communities in Pakistan has been developed through acquisition of the services of a professional software development firm, who analyzed the needs in consultation with the FACES Pakistan and transgender proponents in development of a smart mobile application. A total of 50 local Human Right Defenders / representatives of Civil Society Organization’s representatives had been trained to monitor rights violations and discrimination cases within concerned towns.
For Mobile Application training session, an expert from mobile application firm / team was present / available at last day of two 5 days training at Lahore and Faisalabad, who deliberated in detail about the features, fields, process and procedure of submission of incident reports. Mock exercises were conducted to be more efficient in mobile
application use. According to agreement, the firm remained bound to provide 3 months on call services for any trouble shooting and maintenance. 50 Mobile phones were duly procured and handed over to the training participants for their initial learning and further use in field.
Mobile Application is available at Google Play Store. According to contract, the developers provided up gradation services for 3 months after completion of this application. In this connection the application has been up graded accordingly, keeping in view the suggestions and recommendations of users were well incorporated to make it more useful and reliable. Vol. 1.2 of this application is available, link of the application is: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Is.facespak.incidentreporting
CSOs and HRDs representatives were given target of providing training to 10 to 15 transgender persons of their area and they achieved more than the given targets, meetings with transgender persons at the Deras of their gurus are still under way at all 12 towns.
HRDs and CSOs of concerned towns has learned the complete features of the mobile application and got experience and expertise not only to use it but to train others as well. For technical assistance the mobile application development firm is available and for thematic clarifications, FACES Pakistan project teams are always on service. Trained HRDs and CSOs representatives are in contact with transgender community and Gurus and Deras of Gurus are being visited regularly to follow up the activity.