DRL supports over 28 democracy, human rights, and labor programs in South and Central Asia (SCA). Current funding for DRL programs in SCA exceeds $17 million. Program topics include media innovation and development, gender advocacy and equality, and improving protections for political, labor, and human rights. The following are examples of the kinds of programs DRL funds in South and Central Asia.

Improving youth participation in civil society politics
In Nepal, a DRL program aimed to structurally transform the way that youth participate in the civic and political arena so that they make a substantial and positive contribution to the overall peace and democratization process. In 20 colleges across the country, almost 6,000 young people attended seminars designed to build awareness on topics relevant to constitution building, good governance, and democratization. Additionally, 2000 youth participated in the creation of a National Youth Charter that was presented to Constituent Assembly (CA) members and was endorsed by various Ministers, CA members and politicians.

Building the Capacity of Trade Unions
In Pakistan, a DRL project is working on strengthening building the capacity of trade unions. Capacity building workshops have brought together leaders of Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) affiliates to improve their organizational efficiency and effectiveness and their services to members. These efforts are helping to strengthen the financial sustainability of the PWF with the formulation of an improved financial model and dues collection system. Additionally, the program also trained 65 journalists on the importance of Pakistani labor law and methods for consistent and in-depth reporting on worker rights issues.

Improving Access to the Legal System
The Jaffna Legal Aid Project (JLAP) seeks to improve access to the legal system for underserved and needy citizens by improving the access to and quality of legal services in the Jaffna district. In the short-term, JLAP will better equip lawyers to serve the citizens of Jaffna, particularly those who have been most strongly affected by the conflict. In the long-term, a functioning, sustainable legal aid center will provide reliable quality legal aid services to Jaffna’s needy, and will continue to do so after the Project’s completion. Jaffna’s legal community will also develop stronger linkages to other lawyers and government-sponsored legal aid centers, reducing their isolation and leading to better integration with the legal community in other parts of Sri Lanka.

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