Introduction to ASR

ASR is a non-profit, non-governmental resource centre set up in 1983 as a multidisciplinary, multidimensional group working towards social transformation. ASR’s ideological stance has been to re-examine the development alternatives based on the empowerment of majority of the people, so that the people themselves can identify and be involved not only in `satisfying the urgent needs of the present, but in anticipating and creating their own future’.

An important area of ASR’s activities had been in facilitating, providing, organizing and conducting various types of training at different levels within and outside Pakistan.  Most of ASR’s workshops were residential and used participatory training methodology and many had included resource persons from outside Pakistan, especially from India.  ASR’s training made a concerted effort to link the micro with the macro so that policy decisions could been made anticipating long-term macro developments. 

ASR also facilitates the training of individuals and groups by putting them in touched with training facilities and resource persons within and outside the country.  Over the past 35 years, ASR personnel had been part of training programmes of over approximately 12000 development workers/women and trade union activists etc.  and had facilitated the training and international exposure of a further 5020 activists. 

ASR had been arranging trainings and workshops since 1983 and some had been issue specific, such as the women and development workshop, which had been conducted several times in different years.  It was first held on a South Asian leveled in Bangladesh in March-April 1986, in Nepal in December 1986, in Murree in August 1987, in Bhit Shah, Sindh in January 1988, in Lahore in June 1989, and in Changa Manga in February-march 1991.  This workshop was involved with discussions on issues on patriarchy, religion, culture and ideology, portrayal of women, family and marriage, feminism, violence against women, working in the community and militarization of society and its effects on women.

In addition, ASR arranges workshops on more general conceptual and development issues such as the one-week residential workshop feminism, women’s movement and women and development held in Abbottabad in 1993. Its aimed was to develop closer links between researchers, activists, development workers and donors and to made women’s studies, conceptual understanding and macro development questions accessible to activists and to create a network that would reflect the women’s movements.  Over the past decades, ASR’s focus had been on issues relating to women’s development and empowerment, and other oppressed classes/nationalities/religious minorities etc.

An estimated 7000 people had participated in its workshops, courses or conferences

107 in its 6 certificate courses

25-30 each in its 260 short training workshops

3500 in its 7 conferences

ASR had also participated, or facilitated the participation of other NGOs in 650 national workshops, conferences and seminars, as well as 485 international ones.

At times the trainings had been skill specific such as formulating, monitoring and evaluating projects and programmes, especially people-based projects; training in video and theatre skills as conducted in the used of theatre for empowerment workshop although the skill development workshops always include a conceptual and analytical component.

ASR had initiated many unique activities for the first time in Pakistan, following were some: 

  • launched the first feminist pressed in Pakistan. 
  • held the first national women’s studied conference in Pakistan. 
  • ASR was the first group in Pakistan, for example, to initiate training in video production and media activism; in training in theatre concepts and skills and in organizing theatre festivals. 
  • organised two large multidimensional conferences on the ‘process to Beijing’ and the ‘implications for Pakistan in international un conferences and agreements’. 
  • the first to implement the idea of short residential courses on feminism and women and development issues at the national leveled for activists, development workers, researchers, and writers. 
  • launched ASR was the institute of women’s studied in Lahore (iwsl)

For a more detailed and specific information see History Rationale