LAHORE: The Young Omang Network has developed an advocacy toolkit which provides necessary information and proposes a set of changes to government representatives and parliamentarians on laws, policies and implementation documents related to youth reproductive health and youth policies.

“The toolkit gives rationale behind each change demanded and the consensus developed so far in the communities and among civil society organizations for these changes. It will serve as a resource for the decision makers to improve quality of policies, programs and services for youth reproductive health in Pakistan,” this was briefed during the “National Workshop on Youth Policies” which was organized by a leading youth development organization Bargad as member of the Young Omang Network.

The workshop provided a platform for parliamentarians, government officials and CSOs from all four provinces to commit to work for the cause of youth development through advocacy. They resolved to use their respective provincial Assemblies and Departments to bring attention to the need for youth policies with progressive language on reproductive health as part of the youth policies. They also committed to advocate for inclusion of Life Skill Based Education in the school curriculum, provision of Youth Friendly Health Services, increasing the legal age of marriage and promoting transgender rights.

MPAs from all four provinces participated in the National Workshop. From Sindh Assembly, Mr. Syed Hashim Raza and Mr. Muhammad Abbas; from KP Assembly Ms. Aasia Saleh Khattak, Dr. Asiya Asad and Ms. Madiha Nasir; from Balochistan Assembly, Mr. Qadir Nayyal and Ms. Zeenat Shahwani; from Punjab Assembly, Mr. Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan and Mr. Javed Alla-ud-din participated in the National Workshop. Ms. Romina Khursheed Alam, Member National Assembly was also in attendance.

MPA Aasiya Khattak said that “unfortunately transgender persons are not respected in our society; they are normal human beings and they need acceptance in the society.”

MPA Rana Mashood said that we need to ensure continuity in the implementation of policies related to transgenders and minorities because they all are Pakistanis.
“Our society is addicted to stereotypes. It is so closely knit in traditions that this stops evolution of society,” added MPA Qadir Nayyal from Balochistan.

The workshop also gave a chance to youth representatives to interact with the MPAs and students from Lahore College for Women University and Government College Lahore University participated and raised questions at this occasion.