In 2000, Pakistan embarked on a major devolution process to expand access to the political system and improve service delivery through effective local governance. This process yielded Citizen Community Boards (CCBs) as a means to enable communities to manage their own development. Despite the rapid growth of CCBs, they suffer from significant capacity gaps and are especially weak with respect to the role of women and gender issues. Despite de jure representation in CCBs, women remain unequal participants and often lack the capacity to effectively advocate for their development needs. Through this project, Civil Society Resource Centre (A project of Aga Khan Foundation) aims to build the capacity of CCBs – and in particular women in CCBs – and other stakeholders (CSOs, government line departments, local councils, etc.) to enable them to effectively advocate for and implement solutions to address development issues relevant to them.
Locally known as the Hum Qadam Project, this initiative is officially titled ‘Women Empowerment through Citizens’ Community Boards,’ or WECCB. Made possible through a grant of the United States Department of State (DoS) Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor (DHRL), Hum Qadam was designed by the Civil Society Resource Centre (CSRC). Literally meaning ‘to move in step with each other,’ the Project aims to increase the involvement of women in the area of governance within civil society with the overarching perspective of gender equality and mainstreaming. The two year project, which was launched in December 2008, has a nationwide outreach, with seven districts across Pakistan selected for implementation.