Awareness raising and capacity building on women’s property rights, a project with Sangtani Women Rural Development Organisation Rajanpur, Pakistan
This project was implemented by Sangtani Women Rural Development Organisation Rajanpur (Sangtani) as part of their ongoing programme. Sangtani is an organisation that has been working in Rajanpur, one of Pakistan’s least developed areas, to provide counselling, mediation and free legal aid to needy women in family disputes to ensure their access to justice. The key problem addressed by Sangtani in the WRRC project is the abuse of women’s right to meher (bridewealth) and other property, even though this right is provided by both State laws and religious laws. To address this problem, Sangtani adopted the following strategies:
- Providing information about women’s right to meher and property, as well as details of Muslim jurisprudence, to different stakeholders, including community women and men (including unmarried young women), the Revenue Department, local authorities, and registrars of Muslim marriages
- Supporting women’s access to court for the reinstatement of their property rights
The project conducted a range of activities at community, union council and district levels, which included:
- community awareness sessions
- orientation sessions with Revenue Department district officers
- awareness and advocacy programmes through live FM radio broadcasts, featuring senior lawyers, religious scholars, and Revenue Department district officers,
- publication and dissemination of a pamphlet on meher and property
- dissemination of Quranic verses on women’s inheritance and property rights
- mobilisation walks in sixteen days of activism around 26 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women)
Below see a pamphlet on women’s Meher and property rights and a handbill with Quranic verses on women's inheritance and property rights.
Meher is an obligation in most (if not all) interpretations of Muslim laws. It refers to bridewealth – i.e. the resources (which may include cash, land, house, jewellery and other forms of wealth) transferred from the groom’s family to the bride herself as an individual. It is the opposite of dowry, which is wealth transferred from the bride’s family to the groom’s family.