Afghanaid is working with local communities in Afghanistan to increase understanding and acceptance of women’s rights, and to change attitudes towards issues such as violence against women and early or forced marriage.

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To achieve this, Afghanaid trains local human rights defenders, enabling them to advocate for the social and economic rights of women and intervene on behalf of vulnerable women in their communities. By running community-wide awareness raising campaigns, we facilitate a broader understanding and acceptance of women’s rights. We also work closely with influential members of communities, such as religious leaders and elders, who help us to spread positive messages about women’s rights through a culturally sensitive Islamic perspective. 

One religious leader we have been working with, whose support of our work has played a large role in his community accepting this project, is Mawlawi Kakar:

“As a religious leader, it’s my responsibility to protect people from cruelty and guard against the misuse of Islam. It is also my responsibility to help girls who are confined to the home to come out and gain the knowledge and skills that will enable them to live fuller lives.

Before Afghanaid began working in my community, many people viewed women’s rights as a Western concept. For the past few years, Afghanaid has been working alongside community leaders to show that the rights of the people are part of Islamic teaching and Afghan culture. Afghanaid hosted conferences where influential and respected people across the district came together to discuss the issue of women’s rights and how best to spread positive messages.

Afghanaid also distributed books with pictures and quotes from the Holy Quran as well as from the Constitution of Afghanistan: the page below says “education is the right of all citizens of Afghanistan”.

I am now part of a group of ‘human rights defenders’ trained by Afghanaid to intercede on behalf of women and girls in the district who are suffering from domestic conflict. We have already been able to help many women and, as a result, more women are hearing about us and asking for our support. I am also a principal at a local boys’ school. Each week, I give an assembly on women’s rights within the context of Islam, using real-life examples.

I have seen attitudes change throughout my entire community; people have become much more open minded. I think that projects like this one should be implemented across the entire country, given how much my community has benefitted from it. In the future, I hope that all Afghan women will be able to drive a car, for example, or earn enough so that they no longer have to beg their men for money.“

Despite significant progress over the last decade, Afghanistan remains one of the hardest places in the world to be a woman. Recent research found that 87% of Afghan women and girls suffer from at least one form of abuse. In conservative areas, fear of stigmatisation and violence prevents many women from claiming their human rights, keeping them shackled in poverty. Afghanaid is working to change this. By making a donation today, you can help us work with many more community elders like Mawlawi Kakar, enabling us to reach many more women and girls, so that they can claim their rights and build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

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How Afghanaid is helping

Meet some of Afghanaid's human rights defenders

Read Massouda's story