The Social Cohesion and Resilience (SC&R) project is part of UNICEF’s Peace-building Education and Advocacy (PBEA) program that focuses on peace building through education in 14 post-conflict or fragile states. Its goal is to strengthen social cohesion, human security and resilience in conflict-affected contexts. In Pakistan, UNICEF has partnered with the Society for the Advancement of Education (SAHE) to manage the SC&R project in Punjab, in four districts: Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Rajanpur. This project is in line with SAHE’s previous experience of working in the area of community participation, citizenship education, gender and equity.
This report is a documentation of key findings from the qualitative primary research that was carried out from September 2012 to December 2012. The report also recaps the desk review of relevant documents carried out to supplement and inform the fieldwork. District Action Plans, which served as guiding documents on strategic and programmatic dimensions of SC&R and were endorsed by the School Education Department, were developed based on the report. Together, this research and the resultant plans constitute phase 1 of the project. The qualitative research aimed to identify the problems and entry points from various stakeholders’ perspectives, and found that the major issues driving lack of social cohesion included poverty and inequalities amongst various segments of society, ethnicity and language, religious extremism, sectarianism as well as an inadequate response in terms of governance. The entry points suggested were strengthening peace committees in the selected districts and tehsils, promoting child friendly education approaches, and bringing on board local NGOs/CBOs and the youth to build a cohesive and resilient society.