Since its inception Pakistan has mostly been ruled by undemocratic forces. Therefore, its state structure lacks a mechanism that ensures participation of the people in issues pertinent to governance. Absence of strong participatory mechanism in governance model has marginalised certain segments and communities of the society. Following its vision of democratic, socially just and tolerant society guided by participatory principles, SPO endeavors to address the issue of governance through its programme of Democratic Governance.
The Democratic Governance Programme emphasises mainstreaming of marginalised communities in decision making processes for the realisation of basic human rights as enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Constitution of Pakistan. It will ultimately lead to the next stage of claiming rights from policy and decision making institutions through a democratic struggle. This will be achieved through extensive and sustained political education via CSNs. The people will be enabled and encouraged through education and training to participate fully in all forms of voluntary activities for social development. Youth, the most vibrant section of the society, will also be engaged and mainstreamed in social and political processes through this programme.
The programme geared to achieve three outputs through different activities divided into three components. The crux of first component of these activities is to enhance conceptual clarity on rights based approaches so that every partner organization has a clear conceptual framework for its activities. Later these organizations will become instrumental in raising awareness about human rights, planning, managing and sustaining programs concerning human rights education in their communities.
Second component relates to the organizational management training of partner organizations to ensure that there is an increased capacity to promote and practice sustainable, transparent and accountable systems within the organization. Also, this responds to needs in health, education, livelihoods and income generation. Under the activities of third component political workers will receive skills training, development knowledge and problem solving techniques. In addition, they will have the opportunity to conduct events at district level so that they may gain a sense of self-confidence and address development issues, and transfer knowledge with the political parties.
All of the programme activities aim at bringing about change in different tiers of governance ranging from sub-district and CBOs, MAs and WOs to parliament, ministries and state departments. The activities will cumulatively contribute to the overall out of Democratic Governance Programme in the shape of “enhanced capacity of community organization and public interest institutions to exercise and promote democratic structures at all levels.”
SPO strives to empower marginalized communities through its activities and interventions across Pakistan. To appreciate the struggle of women, men and communities in bringing about change in their lives and communities, SPO regularly compiles and publishes their stories in the shape of case studies. These stories do not represent an overall view of the situation but they definitely represent snippets of the bigger picture