2-day PODA conference begins at Lok Virsa

Gilgit-Baltistan musicians enthrall audience at Lok Mela

ISLAMABAD, Oct 19 (APP): The two-day 9th annual rural women conference organized by Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA) at Lok Virsa on Wednesday.

Keeping in view the sanctity of Muharram-ul-Harram, the PODA this year decided to organise the conference on October 19 instead of October 15th October – International Day of Rural Women..

Opening the conference, PODA Executive Director Sameena Nazir said it was the 9th consecutive year that PODA had organized this annual gathering to bring together rural women leaders from all parts of the country.

“Since 2008, PODA has facilitated this unique platform for
rural women activists annually to highlight their contributions, innovations, challenges, leadership and vision. It is an organic movement of rural women leaders that has been growing every year. Starting with 300 women in 2008, we had over 1500 participants from 100 districts of Pakistan in 2015 annual conference,” she said.

Sameena Nazir said the conference sparked ideas of empowerment and gave women courage to take new initiatives because they saw other women taking on similar challenges in their communities.

She said the conference provided the women a platform to make collective demands and gave them confidence. PODA’s role was make sure that their voices were included in the decision making forums of the federal and provincial capitals.

She dedicated this year’s conference to Abdul Sattar Edhi, a great supporter of women and girls rights in Pakistan.

She said the annual rural women conference aimed to align with the government’s efforts to promote constitutional safeguards for women. This year’s conference would focus on women’s role and contributions to the issues of democracy, development and peace.

The two-day conference programme included structured sessions, stakeholders, dialogues, theatre plays, opening and closing plenary, a teach-in on different subjects, folk music and artisans at work booth among other activities.