Over the past few months, we have hosted a series of conferences and workshops in different areas around Kabul province to raise awareness of women’s rights within the context of Islam.

The purpose of these events has been to relate and equate the concept of human rights with concepts which already exist in Islamic teachings, in order to campaign for a greater respect for women’s rights within the local communities.

Through these events, we have brought together religious leaders and Islamic scholars, along with respected elders from the local communities, as well as local men and women who have recently been trained by Afghanaid as human rights defenders, in order to facilitate a true understanding of this issue throughout the entire communities.

The principle of gender rights is integrated into the design of all of our projects but we also tackle this complicated, and often sensitive, issue head-on by hosting events such as these, which specifically focus on the issue of people's rights. Through these events, we aim to help women and girls in Afghanistan claim their rights and live with greater safety and dignity. With this support, they can get the benefits of an education and take up income generation opportunities that enable them to contribute economically to the health and welfare of their families.

The events allowed for the open discussion of issues around women’s access to education and health services; the consequences of child marriage and forced marriage; rights of ownership and economic independence; and workplace rights. The participants in these events then worked together to try and come up with practical solutions to the issues their communities are facing.

Traditional Islamic stories were used to illustrate the fact that human rights are not a foreign concept and that the religion of Islam is compatible with women’s rights. Respected religious leaders came together to counter the more misogynistic interpretations of some; instead showing their support for an inclusive expression of Islam. All present were encouraged to pass this message forward and work to raise awareness, and facilitate a true understanding, of  women’s rights in their respective communities.

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