Supporting Women’s CNICs in Larkana Dist:, of Sindh Province of Pakistan

In Pakistani society, old-fashioned traditions often hinder women’s development. The women of rural areas of Larkana district were deprived of a Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) because of such traditions. The community dogmatically follow their customs keeping their women in Parda: a tradition they are not willing to compromise on even if that entails foregoing an official identity. In Pakistani society, especially in rural areas, pardah or veiling defines the lifestyle of countless women who spend most of their existence confined to their homes. Photography of women is also not allowed on this basis.

Women in the rural area do not realize the importance of an identity card as they rarely go to school or vote and they usually do not own any property“.

Keeping in view the cultural sensitivities of the area, the Education Research and Development Association (ERADA) team mobilized the village elders in a bid to inform them about the CNIC registration process and benefits of having CNIC. The community was mobilized to:

  • Enable them to officially exercise their rights as a Pakistani citizen and they will also be able to acquire many benefits from social welfare departments such as Bait-ul-Mal.

  • Deposit their salary cheque (in case of employees) in their own account and make use of salary.

  • Claim disability allowances from the government and other philanthropic institutes.

  • Makes it easier to apply for a loan from bank or any other financial institution to establish a small scale business enterprise i.e grocery store, livestock and dairy farming.

 Flexible Traditions to Register Women

After conducting a household mapping exercise. It was observed that the majority of women were unregistered due to the absence of required documentation, most of the women do not have birth or marriage certificates (Nikkah Nama). This is one of the reasons why they do not have CNIC (Computerized National Identity Cards) either. Our mobilizing team start the campaign for the registration of their CNICs. One of them explained that women were frustrated with the CNIC registration process due to the absence of required documentation. The poor people of the village were also unable to pay the fee required to obtain a marriage certificate (Nikkah Nama).

The villagers asked the ERADA representatives various questions especially regarding the process of transporting women to the NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) office and protecting their identity card pictures from any misuse. When the ERADA team assured them that the Mobile Registration Vehicle (MRV) would come to their doorstep and that NADRA follows strict protocols which ensure security and privacy of women, the villagers were satisfied and decided to participate in the Gender Equity Program’s campaign for “Supporting Women’s CNIC Registration in Selected Districts” which is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

ERADA is always committed for the betterment of vulnerable population, in this regards ERADA has
initiated the aforementioned micro-credit programme and mobilized the community about the benefits of the programme. The programme aims to improve the socio-economic condition and reduce the poverty by financing the community in shape of small loans and investments.

In view of above ERADA mobilized the community of registering themselves (community) with NADRA by achieving Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) in order to be benefited from the programme. Moreover, the ERADA team encouraged the community to vote, reminding them that this was their basic
right. The mobilization team explained that the only way to ensure that the right candidates are elected to take part in the elections and work for the betterment of the community.