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An important area of ASR’s activities has been in facilitating, providing, organizing and conducting various types of training at different levels within and outside Pakistan. Most of ASR’s workshops are residential and use participatory training methodology and many have included resource persons from outside Pakistan, especially from India. ASR’s training makes a concerted effort to link the micro with the macro so that policy decisions can be made anticipating long-term macro developments.
ASR also facilitates the training of individuals and groups by putting them in touch with training facilities and resource persons within and outside the country. Over the past 25 years, ASR personnel have been part of training programmes of over approximately 12000 development workers/women and trade union activists etc. and has facilitated the training and international exposure of a further 5020 activists.
ASR has been arranging trainings and workshops since 1983 and some have been issue specific, such as the Women and Development workshop, which has been conducted several times in different years. It was first held on a South Asian level in Bangladesh in March-April 1986, in Nepal in December 1986, in Murree in August 1987, in Bhit Shah, Sindh in January 1988, in Lahore in June 1989, and in Changa Manga in February-March 1991. This workshop is involved with discussions on issues on patriarchy, religion, culture and ideology, portrayal of women, family and marriage, feminism, violence against women, working in the community and militarisation of society and its effects on women.
In addition ASR arranges workshops on more general conceptual and development issues such as the one-week residential workshop Feminism, Women’s Movement and Women and Development held in Abbottabad in 1993. Its aim was to develop closer links between researchers, activists, development workers and donors and to make women’s studies, conceptual understanding and macro development questions accessible to activists and to create a network that would reflect the women’s movements. Over the past decade, ASR’s focus has been on issues relating to women’s development and empowerment, and other oppressed classes/nationalities/religious minorities etc.
An estimated 7000 people have participated in its workshops, courses or conferences
107 in its 6 certificate courses
25-30 each in its 260 short training workshops
3500 in its 7 conferences
ASR has also participated, or facilitated the participation of other NGOs in 650 national workshops, conferences and seminars, as well as 485 international ones
At times the trainings have been skill specific such as formulating, monitoring and evaluating projects and programmes, especially people based projects; training in video and theatre skills as conducted in The Use of Theatre for Empowerment workshop although the skill development workshops always include a conceptual and analytical component.
ASR has initiated many unique activities for the first time in Pakistan, following are some:
- Launched the first feminist press in Pakistan.
- Held the first National Women’s Studies Conference in Pakistan.
- ASR was the first group in Pakistan, for example, to initiate training in video production and media activism; in training in theatre concepts and skills and in organizing theatre festivals.
- Organised two large multidimensional conferences on the ‘Process to Beijing’ and the ‘Implications for Pakistan in International UN Conferences and Agreements’.
- The first to implement the idea of short residential courses on feminism and women and development issues at the national level for activists, development workers, researchers, and writers.
- Launched ASR is the Institute of Women’s Studies in Lahore (IWSL)
For a more detailed and a specific information see History Rationale