The FFB's gender program is managed by Kaniz Fatima. You can read in an interview with her here.
For a woman of Hushe Valley it is a hard life, devoted primarily to raising her family and working in the fields. Most adult women only speak the Balti language and have no Urdu or English (the two official languages of Pakistan) and so cannot leave the valley or communicate with the outside world. In addition, a high percentage of these women are illiterate, further limiting their possibilities of movement and a relationship with society.
Teenage girls are married off by their families once they leave school. So begins the arduous task of being a woman and mother in Baltistan. Marriage is often between relatives.
The workload borne by women begins with the care her children, a typical number is around five, care for her husband and elderly relatives. This together with the maintenance and cleanliness of her home and working in the fields, growing the products needed for food.
As noted, women have obligations with regard to work both outdoors and indoors. They are obliged to carry out all the duties of housework, as well as planting, harvesting, collecting firewood, water and grass for the cattle for winter, taking care of the family orchard, picking the fruit, fruit processing ...
To this we must add that in the summer, the time when there is most work in the fields, many men leave to work as porters and mountain guides. All the hard work then falls on the women. And yet, even though the women are engaged in the collection and processing of food, there have no access to the markets.
The role of women in public life is limited, it is easy to observe that they cannot walk down the streets alone or participate actively in community celebrations.
The FFB works for the empowerment of women and towards greater gender equity in the region. The first steps have led to the creation of a centre from which to promote basic skills training for professional women, advancing their progressive autonomy and empowerment to improve their quality of life and community development. The centre, called, ‘The Vocational Centre for Women’, offers year-round courses in sewing, English, making jam, etc. The centre has become the main place where women can meet, learning various techniques and work skills, organising lectures, sharing experiences, or simply finding their own space to be.
The Hushe Valley women take charge of its Development Model
Despite their heavy workload and responsibilities, the women of the Hushe Valley also want a say in its development. They have created a team of 31 women from different towns. Maternal and child health, a training centre for women, education and transport have been identified as major needs. You can read more about their work here
Plan of action for gender
March 8 was International Women's Day and FBF has been focusing on its new challenge, "The Gender Action Plan of FBF." The last 10 months (June 2011-March 2012) have seen FBF launch its plan and join the bandwagon of equality in the process of Organizational Change Pro-Gender Equity.
During these months, the Internal Group on Gender has led the process, and FBF will publish "Gender Diagnosis from the Felix Foundation, Baltistan" and "Gender Action Plan" on the website at the end of April. The team which has made this possible comprises thirteen people (men and women,) from different areas of the Foundation: volunteers, technical staff, board, team coordination, communication, grant students and students on practical experience. In addition, to give wings to the process, FBF has been able to count on the facilitation of the Management Team from the communication consultancy UNA, led by Akaitz and Ainhoa.
Through the various working sessions during this period, it has been possible to make a 5 goal Gender Action Plan for the future. Its implementation will allow the integration of gender perspective in all parts of the FBF cultural organization plans.
In the month of February, an open day was held on "Self FBF gender," which defined and prioritized the way forward for the development of the Plan. In June 2011, the process began with two awareness sessions which were intended to adopt common concepts about gender equity. The institutional documents, the formal structure, the activities, projects and programs, and organizational culture of FBF were all analysed from the perspective of gender.
The first part of this organizational change on pro-gender equality has been a success: now we have to start the execution, so that change becomes a reality.
If you want more information about the process and/or documents prepared about the plans, please contact us at the following e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org