Through our team of technical expert volunteers, Shirakat began a lengthy process of deliberations and reflection, when we decided in 2010 to register as a formal group. Using our decades of experience of working on social development, women in development, women and development and later gender equity and equality, as well as our activism, we took time to analyse what we had achieved so far and how, what had been our failures and why – and most of all what we could have done better and got better results – a sustainable change. The dialogue and analysis was also informed by our cultural context, socioeconomic, political and security dynamism through the past since 1947, the year of independence and history before that. We were looking for the key to opening floodgates of development for people – citizens or non-citizens living in Pakistan. Which critical logs were to be removed before the development flow would become automatic and self-sustaining? After a long process of analysis, we decided that sustainable livelihoods, education and peacebuilding were the themes that could have long lasting impact on people’s lives with community mobilization, gender equality, human rights, engaging men and boys for gender equality as partners as crosscutting areas.
We agreed on the following principles in all of our work: