Acid Violence-What is it?
Acid violence is a particularly outrageous form of torture which involves throwing corrosive acid at the victims’ faces. This not only causes face disfiguration but also has a catastrophic effect on the victims’ live. It usually occurs as one of the worst form of domestic violence and is most often directed against women, but children are often collateral damage and men may also be among the victims. The effects of acid violence include serious physical harm (loss of eyes and limbs, corrosion of organs, and subsequent infections such as septicemia and gangrene). Acid survivors are disfigured for life. In addition to the inevitable psychological trauma, survivors also face social isolation and ostracism that further damage their self-esteem and seriously undermine their professional and personal future.
Acid Survivors Foundation-Pakistan- Who are we?
Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) Pakistan was founded in 2006 with the support of a UK-based organisation: Acid Survivors Trust International to support survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan.
Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF-Pakistan) is a Pakistani non-profit organization working since 2006 to eradicate acid violence from Pakistan promote human rights of acid burn and other burn survivors, through a peaceful democratic process. It was officially registered in August 2007 under Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration and Control) Ordinance 1961.
Mission statement: ASF Pakistan aims to eradicate acid violence from Pakistan and ensure that survivors’ human rights are protected and enforced.
ASF Pakistan mandate is to work with partners and stakeholders, through peaceful and democratic processes, towards the elimination of acid violence in particular and GBV at a larger level, and towards the empowerment of survivors so that they can exercise their basic human rights.
Goals of the organisation: ASF is following a culture sensitive, holistic 4 component developmental approach: 1) Stop acid violence and prevent the proliferation of attacks 2) Ensure survivors have the best available medical treatment in the long run 3) Ensure survivors get justice, enjoy their human rights in accordance with the Pakistani constitution and international conventions and provide legal support to survivors.4) Assist the survivors in their rehabilitation process and provide rehabilitation services, including psycho social support, skills training, education and income generating activities so that the survivors end up as proactive, democratic, empowered and autonomous citizens.
Vision: Pakistan becomes an acid and burn violence free country in which women and children fully and equitably exercise their basic human rights.
Institutional structure: Acid Survivors Foundation is governed by a general body of 20 founding members among which 7 members are elected every 3 years to form the Board of Directors (BoD). One of these directors is an ex-officio one and is called the Executive Director, his tenure is also of 3 years. The general body meets once in a year to examine the annual financial and activity reports of the organisation that are submitted by the BoD and approves them if satisfied; during this annual meeting; the BoD also presents to the general body the provisional activity plan and provisional budget for the next year and once satisfied, the general body approves them trough majority vote.
The BoD meets on a quarterly basis to follow the activities and financial status of the organisation and approves the budget and activity plans before submitting them to the general body.
The Executive Director (ED) reports to the BoD. The ED is in charge of developing and proposing strategic plans, provisional budgets, activity plans as well as financial and activity reports. He must ensure that the organisation fulfils its financial and operational commitments in accordance with the constitution, goal, mandate and ethics of the organisation. He is the privileged intermediary between the BoD and donors. He is also a key communicator between the operational team and the BoD.
The operational team of the organisation is articulated via a multi layer management system: higher and medium management The higher management (Director of Operations and Director for Development Program and Capacity Building) directly reports to the Executive Director while the medium management directly reports to their respective program directors (Director of Operations and Director for Development Program and Capacity Building).
1) Empowerment program = provision of comprehensive rehabilitation services to victims of acid/burn attacks along with legal aid and personal development services 2) Communication For Change = evidence/research based advocacy and lobbying to establish an effective comprehensive acid and burn legislation in Pakistan to prevent acid attacks, provide medical and rehabilitation services for survivors of attacks, regulate and monitor acid sale, ensure gender justice in the long run. 3) Preventive Diplomacy = awareness, education and training programs to mitigate conflicts and curb the resulting cycle of gender based violence eventually leading to acid or burn attacks 4) Capacity Building Program = a) enhance local capacities to address/respond to acid violence and GBV in general b) document and assess impact, outcomes, processes and good/best practices to later on share those and capitalise on them at a national, regional and international level 5) Child Protection Program = a) Ensure that all programs are articulated in a child friendly manner as 15% of victims are children, b) empower caregivers and stakeholders to address child abuses and develop a child friendly environment that promotes and enforces child rights.