We are delighted to announce the launch of a new project, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, to empower Afghan women to claim their economic, social and political rights. During this three year project, we will be working in partnership with the Afghan Education Production Organisation (AEPO) to directly support 1,000 vulnerable women in Samangan and Ghor provinces.

Complex situations call for holistic solutions

Drawing on our years of experience in strengthening both livelihoods and women’s rights in Afghanistan, this project takes a step by step approach to women’s empowerment.  

We will begin by giving women the skills and equipment they need to start generating their own income; supporting them to form self-help savings groups with other women to give them access to credit to grow their enterprises; and linking them up with market actors so they can sell their products.

Afghanaid knows that when women in Afghanistan are economically empowered, their social status in the home and community also improves; women who bring money into poor homes gain increased respect from their male family members and increased decision-making power over family matters. With that in mind, the next phase of the project will harness this improved social status by training women in women’s empowerment, human rights, leadership and civic engagement. This training will give women the skills and confidence needed to participate in community governance institutions and processes that have an influence over their lives and the lives of their children. We will also deliver human rights training to one male family member of each of the women participating in the project, in order to increase their support for women’s participation in the public sphere and women’s rights more broadly.

However, families are sensitive to the pressures of social and cultural norms, therefore changes in perceptions of women’s value and acceptance of their rights must occur at the community level in order to be sustainable.

This is where our partner, AEPO, come in.

AEPO is the longest running media-for-development initiative in Afghanistan, with nearly 25 years of experience of producing radio programmes to both entertain and educate Afghan audiences. AEPO will deliver a media campaign targeting the wider population in the project districts in order to raise understanding of, and support for, women’s rights at the community level. They will use a variety of media including community theatre, illustrated print magazines and radio dramas, integrating women’s rights messaging into captivating storylines that resonate with people’s everyday lives.

Finally, to further empower the project participants, we will link them up with women’s rights groups across their districts and provinces through a series of meetings, workshops and conferences. This will give them a sense of the larger effort across the country to gain equal economic and political rights, as well as bring those efforts to the local level by connecting the groups with the everyday challenges faced by rural women. These networks will act as a resource and a safety net for women to feel empowered to assert their rights.

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