Last week, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded its prestigious Human Rights Tulip Award to Aahung, IWHC’s partner organization in Pakistan. Sheena Hadi, director of Aahung, accepted the award in The Hague on December 11.
Aahung was honored for its efforts to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in Pakistan through programs with schools, medical education institutions, and government agencies.
In schools, Aahung developed a Life-Skills Based Education (LSBE) curriculum that teaches adolescent school children about body changes during puberty, gender discrimination, HIV/AIDS, protection from violence, the importance of family planning, and other issues. The LSBE curriculum has been integrated into public and private schools in Sindh province.
Nationwide, Aahung’s community programs educate young, engaged, and recently married couples about family planning, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, domestic violence, and women’s rights in consenting to marry and within the marriage itself. Aahung also reaches students in nursing and medical schools to train them in the skills required to work on sexual health issues such as confidentiality and the ethical issues involved.
Frans Timmermans, the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs, said at the award ceremony: “Aahung’s positive agenda is precisely what can make the difference for more and more young people in Pakistan. The organization is not against this or that but for human beings and their rights. We want to support their work.”
The award includes a €100,000 prize so the organization can continue to expand its work to more areas of the country.