Pakistani women with disabilities will now be trained to engage in public policy reform

It was decided that the Power to Persuade online training methodology will move forward with an iterative approach.

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) partnered with the Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) supported by Global Affairs Canada, to launch its \\’Power to Persuade: Empowering Women with Disabilities to Influence The Public Policy\\’ online training program in Pakistan.

The platform aims to train women with disabilities and build their skills to advocate with policymakers, elected officials, and other political power brokers for reform.

Regarding the initiative, The IFES issued a statement and said:

Before adopting the training, a short survey was conducted with 50 \\’Power to Persuade\\’ program participants across Pakistan\\’s four provinces. The purpose of the study was to gather information on women\\’s access to technology and digital platforms at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and any reasonable accommodations they might need to participate in online training.

Survey\\’s Findings

The survey, implemented through phone and video calls, revealed four major barriers women are experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These barriers included lack of access to health care, relief services, personal assistance, and accessible information related to the Coronavirus.

Other findings of the survey stated:

  • Nearly all respondents have access to a smartphone at home.
  • Respondents\\’ access to a separate room or quiet space to participate in online training is limited to a couple of hours per day.
  • The respondents prefer online training sessions to be held in the afternoon.

It was decided that the Power to Persuade online training methodology will move forward with an iterative approach. Facilitators will make new developments in the program after gathering information on the following:

  • Participants\\’ access to technology at home
  • Participants\\’ level of experience using virtual platforms
  • Any reasonable accommodations participants might need to participate in an online training program.

The authorities responsible for the training program directed the facilitators to familiarize themselves with the platform and its accessibility features to ensure that it is accessible to participants with different disabilities. It was further suggested that the facilitators should utilize a WhatsApp group or another communication platform.

Facilitators will also be responsible for reporting all the lessons learned from the Pakistan pilot program to authorities in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The implementation of the \\’Power to Persuade\\’ online program will then be reformed accordingly.

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