The UK and UN launch Aawaz II — programme to empower and protect Pakistan’s youth, women and children

Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2018

[Press release]

Islamabad, Pakistan — United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) will provide £ 17.25 million to the United Nations (UN) in Pakistan to implement a five-year (2018-22) programme, AAWAZ II, which will Empower and Protect Pakistan’s Youth, Women, Girls and Boys who are too often exploited and too often left behind.

Photo: UN Women/Anam Abbas
Photo: UN Women/Anam Abbas

An agreement to this effect was signed today between Ms. Joanna Reid, Head of DFID Pakistan and Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, at a ceremony chaired by Dr. Asma Haider, Member (Social Sector and Devolution) Planning Commission of Pakistan.

AAWAZ II will work with government and local communities to promote the rights of children, youth and women. The programme will reach 7 million people across the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Punjab. It will build on the success of its predecessor, AAWAZ I: Voice and Accountability Programme.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Asma Haider said, “I really appreciate the approach adapted by the UN network for joint development and implementation of multi-year development programme in consultation and conjunction with the Government of Pakistan. The generous funding to this programme by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development is highly appreciated and we hope that it will contribute to the Vision 2025, the Five-Year Plan 2018-23 and the 2030 Development Agenda.

Photo: UN Women/Anam Abbas
Photo: UN Women/Anam Abbas

I pray for the successful completion and maximum yield of this investment,” she added.

“The UK and Pakistan have both made a promise to eradicate child labour by signing up to the first universal set of Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs,” said Joanna Reid, Head of DFID in Pakistan. “The Aawaz II programme is an essential component of that success. Together, we can drive the change that is needed at every level of society. Under Aawaz II, we will work to protect vulnerable and marginalised groups. No longer will they be invisible. No longer will their voices not be heard.”

In his message for the occasion, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Neil Bunhe said, “By helping include children, women and youth in Pakistan’s development, this joint programme will benefit all Pakistanis by reducing inequality – a key Sustainable Development Goal.”

Aawaz II will be implemented jointly by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nation’s Fund’s Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN Women. UNICEF focuses on overall strengthening of child protection systems and building the capacities of families, communities and the government to promote rights of children for protecting them from all sorts of violence and abuse. UNFPA’s goal is to help women make informed decisions and choices pertaining to their lives including reproductive rights, thereby facilitating a demographic transition in Pakistan. UN Women focuses on strengthening the capacity of gender equality advocates to help Pakistan fulfil its gender equality commitments. UN Women work in Pakistan with a focus on children, youth and women through various interventions at the national and provincial level.

Mr. Hassan Mohtashami, Representative UNFPA, and Mr. Jamshed M. Kazi, Representative UN Women, were also present at the occasion, as well as representatives of the provincial governments and officials of the British High Commission in Pakistan.

Jamshed Kazi, UN Women Pakistan’s Country Representative said, “Pakistan’s youth, women, girls and boys are not helpless victims of discrimination, they are sources of power; power to cope, power to prevent, and a power for transformation. That is the power that UN Women, UNICEF and UNFPA will be invoking and tapping into over the next 5-years, with the generous support of DFID.”

For more information, please contact:

Anam Abbas
Communications Officer,
UN Women Email: