It is an ongoing program that SPEAK is implementing in Pakistan. Under this program, our goal is to ensure that labor migrants of Pakistan and their families are provided with comprehensive HIV information and that their access to HIV services is ensured. SPEAK has set up a field office in Swat, from where voluntary & free HIV, Hepatitis B & C, and syphilis testing and counseling are provided to migrants and their families. We are also mobilizing migrants and providing them with home-based testing and counseling while referring HIV-positive migrants to treatment.
SPEAK also advocates (through research-based claims) with policymakers and relevant stakeholders to promote safe & orderly migration and address migrants’ HIV vulnerabilities. SPEAK has successfully advocated with the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment to adopt comprehensive HIV content for their briefing to all intending emigrants and display HIV sensitization IEC material at all Protectorate of Emigrants offices in Pakistan benefiting more than 0.5 million migrants. To ensure migrants’ access to HIV services, we intend to establish a referral mechanism at the airport for timely detection of HIV and preventing its spread. In terms of digital advocacy, we spread awareness through mass and social media to increase dialogue around migration and HIV. We also sensitize health service providers on ethical treatment of people living with HIV to eradicate the stigma associated with it.
To strengthen our advocacy, SPEAK regularly conducts researches to ensure evidence based claims and emphasize on the need of addressing the issue. This research was conducted in 5 origin countries including Pakistan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Philippines and Sri Lanka to sensitize emigration-related authorities on gaps in policies and their implementation when it comes to HIV and health issues of Emigrants.
This research aimed to review budget allocation for HIV and SRHR needs of Migrants (including MSM Migrants). SPEAK compared migrant’s contribution to the economy and governments’ spending for migrants’ healthcare and SRHR services in case of HIV infection as well as towards prevention of HIV & AIDS.
The research proved that Pakistan is spending much less than what is required on health and especially HIV, it is apparent that an epidemic like HIV is not getting adequate policy attention and financial support.
Through this capacity building initiative, SPEAK trained 8 Civil Society Organizations on HIV vulnerabilities of migrants and helped them in developing ways to integrate migrant workers’ HIV needs into their existing projects. SPEAK also developed and implemented an Advocacy Action Plan for sustainable HIV Funding for Migrants through impactful participation of the CSOs.
Pakistan is 2nd last at Gender Gap Index. It is the 6th most dangerous country for women in the world. Those who protect women from violence or speak for their rights, often face harassment and threats from different sources. Many have even been attacked and killed.
In order to understand this phenomenon, we implemented a project with support of Freedom House. We initiated a national level qualitative analysis of “Challenges Faced by Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) in Pakistan”. This study was launched in front of a diverse group of experts from civil society, law enforcement agencies and academics. After the Research Launch, participants developed strategies for protection of these WHRDs. The launch event was organized on 29th November 2019, the international day of WHRDs. This was followed by national level media coverage and talk shows by SPEAK to raise the issue at a mass level. We are currently engaged in advocating for the formulation of federal law for the protection of Human Rights Defenders.
The objective of the research was to find out whether the emigrants were sensitized by the government about HIV before departure. The questionnaire included questions about respondents’ basic knowledge of STDs and HIV, methods of transmission, stigma against it, misconceptions about ways it can spread, and basic information about health facilities access.
A report is compiled and the results generated are utilized to spread awareness through social media.
As part of its ongoing programme, SPEAK organizes multiple TV shows on mainstream media channels to effectively raise the voice for the migrant community particularly regarding their health. SPEAK also designs social media content to cater the
larger audience and its beneficiaries. Social media content is specifically designed according to the contemporary needs of the migrants to provide them updated information regarding their health and labor rights.
We aim to improve societal behaviors towards gender issues, especially those of men and boys. We understand that awareness can slowly alter perceptions and practices. Our media programs are carefully organized and prepared keeping in consideration the local context, political environment and existing societal views on the subject matter. We strive to argue on the basis of evidence and encourage better and non-violent behaviors’.