2nd summer school of IWPR

Initiative to Improve Women’s Social and Political Role (IWPR)

February 13, 2019

Considering the women rights situation and the challenges women are facing in Afghanistan, and in order to improve women role to bring change in the Afghanistan society; there is serious need of providing granted space and safe environment for Afghan new female generation to enable them for playing a serious and better role in women empowerment process. Gender equality can not be practiced in Afghanistan unless the women are not enabled to take responsibility to play their role to safeguard their rights and the human rights in general.

For this reason, this project specifically designed to contribute to women empowerment process in the northern Afghanistan in political and social fields through involving young women into the practical political and social practices aiming to create effective role models within different local communities.

In practice, this project functioned as short term school for young women who were interested in politics and social activities such as Journalism and lawyering to learn different skills and improve their knowledge and capacity to draw a better future for themselves and take proper steps with more confidence to achieve their goals and improve women rights in the future of Afghanistan.

These role model women have been selected in a transparent and save environment to establish a committed group of 60 young women. The group participated in different learning and innovation processes and socio-political debates to own experiences and learn different methods of playing basic roles to bring change in Afghan women socio-political life in the northern Afghanistan.

The project has created a supporting chain for its beneficiaries using different skills they have earned during the project life. According to the project main goal, project beneficiaries’ have learned skills that are needed in the fields of politics, journalism and lawyering in order to be enabled to play their role in their field of interest using knowledge and capacity they learned in this project. In addition, the project target group has been enabled to systematically support each other during their political competitions, debates, dialogues, conferences and other political process they have be involved. By offering the same training for women specialized in politics, journalism and law, all of them acquired skills which help them to interact with the other groups respectively. This will turn to be a special exercise for women in northern Afghanistan to create and improve a chain of support among women activists which can be counted a value added for this project. As a result of a meaningful and practical involvement of women in this project and its effect on project target communities, we are observing a demanding, active and purposeful participation of project beneficiaries and as well as other women in socio-political fields aiming to play their role in a modern society and support gender equality after increase of understanding, respect and observance of women’s social and political rights in northern communities of Afghanistan.

The idea of this project is originated from a GIZ project implemented in Balkh province. The project was called New Young Leaders and was focusing on skill building for a small group of youth (male and female) in Mazar-e-Sharif to improve their knowledge and skills in mediation, none-violate communication, political debates and conflict resolution. Beside many different trainings and capacity building programs, the mentioned group of New Young Leaders has participated in two rounds of POL&IS trainings which were provided by German Experts and resulted to a considerable change in Young Leaders’ knowledge and skills for discussion, lecturing and political debates. Most beneficiaries of the New young Leaders program are now playing a remarkable role in civic and social life of Balkh province. As an e.g. a number of mentioned youth leaders already stablished The Hamlet of Modernist Women, a none for profit organization focusing on women rights with new look and actively working for gender equality. As well as, some of the mentioned project beneficiaries are working with famous medias broadcasting from Balkh province such as Arzo TV. 

Thus, the idea discussed with German General Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif which was resulted to IWPR project proposal with a slightly different approach to run a technical knowledge and skill building program for women only, to support gender equality through increasing independent, effective and continues participation of women in socio-political development of northern Afghanistan. Suggested fields, knowledge and skills which are considered for this project were the following:

  1. Politics: Within this field, the project beneficiaries learned technics of political lecturing, methods of political debates and competitions (on TV, Radio and life) and technics of communication, talks and contacting with people and local communities at the grassroots and as well as different governmental organizations and political parties. 
  2. Journalism: Skills at this field, to conduct critical interviews, investigate cases, analyze them and present them in an unbiased and professional way. In the project we will have discussions about the role of journalists in the society with a particular view on gender issues. 
  3. Lawyering: At this field interns learned to investigate cases from a point of view of a lawyer, present the cases, defend interests, how to resist political or physical pressure in judicial processes documenting cases, case reviewing technics with police and prosecution departments, preparing and submitting defending papers to the court, representing and defending the client/case in the court.

The overall immediate and measurable outcome of the project is, out of 60 project beneficiaries, 51 of them have been employed in the second month after IWPR project ended. Examples of larger impact of the project is given in success stories part.