By: Raja Furqan Ahmed
ISLAMABAD: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency marks International Women’s Day in Pakistan with several activities jointly organized with refugees, UN Women and other partners.
March 8 is a day celebrating the achievements of women globally and raising awareness about the importance of gender equality.
In recognition of the important role that women have played in the response to COVID-19, the theme of International Women’s Day in 2021 is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.
UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan, Noriko Yoshida, expressed her solidarity with all women, but particularly with refugee women in Pakistan, who are active in the service of their communities and bravely making a difference for all. “Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, until now, I have seen daily examples of women leading the way to deliver care in our communities. Women working as doctors and nurses, and also in other critical response services. Their bravery in the face of personal danger was and is inspiring. Women not only play important roles in our communities, they are real heroes,” she said.
In Islamabad, UNHCR is holding a virtual event on the importance of mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic and in response to the multiple ways, it has impacted individuals and families. A psychologist, female refugees and local youth will participate as speakers. An Afghan community elder is also delivering remarks to advocate for girls’ education and greater participation of women in community roles.
In Haripur, UNHCR, in cooperation with GIZ and IMC, is presenting ‘change-maker certificates and gifts to women and men who have made important contributions to their communities, including community Outreach Volunteers, teachers, health workers and entrepreneurs.
In Quetta, UNHCR, UN Women and FAO are co-organizing an event, in collaboration with the Women Development Department, to highlight stories of different initiatives and efforts that made a difference in the response to COVID-19 in Balochistan.
In Chaghi, UNHCR and its partner WESS, are holding an open forum together with the participation of male community members to discuss how community awareness can be successful in preventing and ending violence against women. In Saranac, Pishin and Loralai, WESS will also be holding seminars led by religious leaders and prominent community members to promote women’s rights.
In Islamabad, Lahore, Mianwali, Karachi and Peshawar, another UNHCR partner, SHARP, will be holding student debates and sports events to promote girl’s education.
UNHCR’s partner ICMC will be hosting a poster competition for children and art therapy classes.