MWDO was established in September 1994 and registered in 1995 is a non- profit, non-government humanitarian organization. Dr. Parveen Ashraf and Ms. Yasmeen Karim initiated, later on many intellectuals who are the founding members formed the group. It is an organization of professionals from various parts of Pakistan working in different sectors of development who believe in human dignity and equal rights of all fractions of the society regardless to their, sex, faith, racial, ethnic, class, political affiliations. International advisers extend their voluntary expertise from time to time. With a corps of volunteers and limited number of staff MWDO undertakes its different activities to develop and strength human rights norms, and track social, political, economic discriminations and its influences, and link the information to influence policy. MWDO supports social change to construct a more equitable and just society.
People living in the Mountain of Himalayas, Hindukush and Karakoram region, remained isolated for centuries before creation of Pakistan and for more than half a century after creation of Pakistan. The mountainous society is traditional in its practices, with inherent cultural biases, historically existing taboos creating misogynist attitudes, blaming women for what ever goes wrong in the family, fractions of society are denied of land rights/property rights, submitting of individuals with no regard and absolutely zero returns to their contributions. Forceful evictions of poor and powerless families for larger projects in the name of development by the government authorities and local power defining bodies and individuals; thus depriving poorest of their lands and other immovable properties.
A society that was intrinsically harmonious in social status is transitioning a class difference and is subjected to sudden social, economical change often promoting inequalities. However, people are exposed to information regarding their rights, exposed to new trends in the process of modernization through media particularly electronic media, also, these positive changes, secular trends, and social interventions by many international and national NGOs in the development have improved some social indicators. On the other hand in the process of urbanization, some social groups find it difficult to fill the gape between information regarding their rights and having actual tools of empowerment. Anecdotal and observational information depicts a clear gape between the available knowledge and practical tools to use their rights. Young men and women some times take extreme actions causing acute consequences, both unlawful in legal terms and culturally unacceptable in the local context.
Communities living in solitude are subjected to many transitory confusing challenges, burdened with apprehension; which is driving them to social chaos. Unconsciously and often deliberately subjugating gender based discriminations in which, the weak and vulnerable groups suffer from human rights abuses and inequalities. This requires a need to explore and monitor social, political and economic determinants and link this information to influence policies and development plans.
Anomalies in legal and judicial systems are superadded by lack of gender sensitivity, absence of enlightened civil society mechanisms, increasing poverty and international changes in political state of affairs affecting economic and social development negatively; nonetheless, have predisposed fraction of society to mental, social and physical ailments. Though for last two decades many NGOs are working for social development but it only helps to change their social condition.
Mountain Women Development Organization was established to track inequalities and injustices and mainstreaming evidences to influence the policy.
Domestic violence, forced marriages, divorce cases, heavy work load, kidnapping, honor killing and denial of land rights are some of the major problems, which are affecting negatively women’s well being and the MWDO is committed to work against these issues in high mountains of the Northern areas of Pakistan.
Areas of Focus
MWDO focuses on education, health, violence against women and micro-financing.
How MWDO Is Helping
MWDO immplements projects to help girls and women to overcome the discrimination they face and to secure their basic rights through advocacy, skill development, training and micro-financing. It also works widely to end domestic violence against women. MWDO directly works with people of the community, helping them to get better health care, to get better education, to fight against violence and to earn for themselves and their families through participatory development. MWDO also lobbies and campaigns on several fronts to achieve its aims.