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, councillors, 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:
Aurat Foundation has identified three strategic areas of intervention to define the operational parameters for these Programmes:
- 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 Women
- information for women to build their capacity for decision-making and action, and information about women's issues and concerns to decision makers,
- capacity building of citizens groups, public authorities and public representatives to support women's participation in decision-making and their activism, as well as to enhance their access to opportunities and facilities at the local and district levels,
- advocacy for developing an enabling environment for women's empowerment and participatory democracy in Pakistan .
The three Programmes are institutionalised through organisational structures integrated at various levels so that the impact of Aurat Foundation's work is focused and coordinated. These institutional structures include the Information Network Centres, the Citizens Action Committees and the Legislative Watch Groups, which now form part of Aurat Foundation's outreach and the core of its networks. This has enabled Aurat Foundation to operationally reinforce its work and to move with ease and speed at the community, intermediary and macro levels in Pakistan .
The Information Programme for Grass Roots Action and Organisation
Programme for Strengthening Citizens for Advocacy and Action
Programme for Affirmative Legislation and Policies
Aurat Foundation has been functioning with a long-term programmatic approach for expanding and deepening its work. Since 1995, we have been establishing an overall framework with institutionalised structures for our work at each level, to enable us to undertake various activities important for our work, beyond the life of any project. dec
The first phase was focused, therefore, on the establishment of an institutional framework for Aurat Foundation itself for collecting, repackaging and disseminating information. It was accompanied by the creation of an information network for dissemination and linkages in the field.
The second phase focused specifically on political education and the creation of a network of political activists. To enable women's entry in the legislatures and local bodies in substantial numbers, the large network of civil society organisations and groups provided a supportive environment and directly created awareness as well as undertook advocacy and action for women's rights. The Information Network Centres at the grassroots level, the Citizens Action Committees and District Resource Centres with Resource Persons Groups for women councillors and activists at the district level, and the Legislative Watch Groups at the provincial and federal levels have been integrated at an operational level so that the impact of Aurat Foundation's work is focused and coordinated. They now form part of Aurat Foundation's outreach and the core of its networks.
The Foundation has simultaneously been catalysing critical groups in society to undertake advocacy for women to influence policy, legislation and programmes for women's greater access to economic and political resources and power in society. A mutually collaborative relationship has been developed with various departments and organs of the Government of Pakistan. The Foundation is doing advocacy with them at the policy-making and implementation levels to reflect women's concerns in policies and to create linkages for implementation for women at the grass roots levels.