We are delighted to announce that Afghanaid is launching a major new project, funded by UK Aid Direct and the generosity of the British people, which aims to affect true societal change by enabling women in Afghanistan to assert control over their own lives, the well-being of their families and the development of their communities.

The situation in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, women still face huge barriers to accessing education, work and public life and have very little influence over marriage and family planning. They are the first to forego food when there is a shortage and are hit the hardest by poverty.

Despite the many challenges they face, Afghan women hold great potential to drive positive change. When women are given the right support to become economically and socially empowered, they can change the power dynamics within their families and wider communities which perpetuate poverty and gender inequality.

As a trusted presence with years of experience in Afghanistan, Afghanaid is able to approach sensitive and complicated issues, such as family planning and women’s empowerment, even in some of the most remote villages.

Investing in women to drive change

Afghanaid will provide 10,500 vulnerable women with training in vocational skills, alongside enterprise development, financial management, and literacy training, so that they can earn and control their own income and lift their families out of poverty.

  

From economic independence to social empowerment

As income earners, women are afforded greater respect both in their homes and within their communities, and their self confidence increases. What’s more, we know that when given the opportunity, women will typically invest in the education of girls and boys equally and are more likely to spend money on their families health, hygiene and nutrition as compared to men; so their entire families benefit.

Afghanaid will also be teaching these women about family planning and reproductive health. Once they have a greater knowledge and understanding of these topics, they will be able to harness their new social standing to influence decisions over family planning and the early marriage of their daughters.

Bringing communities together to take control of their future

Afghanaid will also work with male family members and mothers-in-law to increase their understanding of these issues. This will help to ensure that the women’ decisions won’t be met with opposition and the entire community can contribute to improving gender equality and the long-term alleviation of poverty.

The women will be formed into self-help groups, which Afghanaid has found to be an effective platform to overcome cultural barriers that prevent women from accessing vocational training and markets. Afghanaid will also support these groups to form savings-and-loan systems, giving poor women access to credit. Crucially, the group structure will also enable women to support and learn from one another.

We will also train the groups in civic engagement and leadership skills, creating a cadre of empowered and capable women who are recognised as leaders in their community. This will consolidate progress in gender equality in the public sphere, giving women more influence over the use of community resources and providing them with more opportunities to get engaged in community governance and institutions.

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