Marvi Sirmed is National Project Manager of a parliamentary development project of UNDP, Strengthening Democracy through Parliamentary Development in Pakistan (SDPD).
She works closely with the Parliament of Pakistan (National Assembly and the Senate of Pakistan) for the training and orientation of the honourable members of the parliament along with the officials of the parliament’s secretariats. Her project also involves producing research and comparative studies in order to not only facilitate the process of orientation of the parliamentarians, but also, to inform civil society and media for making it possible for both these actors to positively engage with the parliament. Marvi Sirmed has worked very closely with technical experts from parliaments like UK House of Commons and Scottish Parliament for producing various documents elaborating on functions of the parliament and how members could work to ensure democratic governance of the country, pro-poor and responsive legislation, oversight of the actions of the Executive Branch (the government) and representation of the constituents alongside working with media experts to chalk out an effective communications strategy for the Parliament of Pakistan in order to improve its public image.
Earlier, she has been working as Institutional Development Specialist with the Ministry of Women Development, Government of Pakistan and as Policy Advocacy Specialist with National Commission on the Status of Women, in the capacity of UNDP expert.
She started her career as journalist in 1990 and has been working as article writer, Sub Editor, Editor Women’s Page, Editor Students’ Page and Member of Investigative Team in different national dailies (Daily The News, Jang, Pakistan, Khabrein etc.). After an enriching experience as a media person, she worked with two of the top educational institutions of Lahore, The Crescent Model School and Pamir Knot College, as subject specialist (Chemistry and English Linguistics). Afterwards, she switched to the development field and joined South Asia Partnership Pakistan, where she engaged herself in program development, organizational assessments, monitoring and evaluation of the development projects in Punjab and interior Sindh. She established women’s groups and community based organizations in over twenty districts of Punjab and 10 districts of Sindh.
In 2000, she joined Institute of Overseas Pakistanis to develop a leading organization to watch the process of legislation in Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) and contributed in the establishment of PILDAT and development of its maiden programs for the capacity building of parliamentarians.
Afterwards, she joined Aurat Foundation's Legislative Watch Programme in 2001. Under the programme, legislative processes going on at federal and provincial levels were watched with gender lens, through Legislative Watch Groups (LWGs), established in all the provinces and composed of legislative experts and technocrats. Advocacy programmes were developed in the light of LWGs’ observations and executed in order to affect policy change and legislations. The marked recommendation and successful advocacy programme was for the reservation of 33% quota for women in law making bodies. She is author of many research based papers, articles, contributes columns in national daily newspapers.
Marvi Sirmed is widely travelled in USA, UK, Malysia, Indonesia, Bangkok, India and Bangladesh for reading various papers, participating in conferences / seminars / training events on legislative development, democratic governance, poverty reduction, and community development. She was a part of International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) run by State Department of United States of America, in 2004.
Besides being founder member of an independent political think tank, Voice of Democracy, she is a member of Women’s Initiative for Peace in South Asia (WIPSA), Women’s Action Forum, Insaani Haqooq Ittehad, Pakistan India Peoples Forum, South Asian Free Media Association, and Pakistan Forum for Social Democracy. She has been visiting SAARC region as member of high profile delegations.
She is a social democrat and believes in secular values. Being a rights' campaigner, she has been part of various advocacy campaigns and movements in Pakistan for human rights and restoration of democracy. She was once arrested under Musharraf regime for raising voice against unconstitutional step of enforcing Emergency in November 2007.