Samangan province is one of the marginalized provinces in Afghanistan. The number of Madrasas are much more than schools in this province. Even teachers and school masters in many of the schools including girls’ schools in this province and even inside province center (Aybak city) are men (mostly clerics) and women has less opportunity to become teacher or school master in Samangan.
The old city of Aybak has many schools which among them, there is one girls high school. The master of this school was a man who is a religious cleric and had full support of local authorities. He was accused of his school’s girls harassment but, no one in the community was able to talk about this issue because, he had strong support of one of local authorities and also has religious background.
Two of IWPR project beneficiaries who were graduated from this high school, knew that what the other girls are experiencing in this school. But, they didn’t know what to do with this issue and how they can advocate for such serious issue in their community while nobody is able to do anything. As result of this accusation against school master, most of the girls in the community deprived of their rights to education and were not able to continue in high school and higher education.
After implementation of IWPR project, the project beneficiaries who are very well capacitated and established their networks with provincial level institutions and women networks, understood how to deal with such social issue and replace this school master with a woman school master to save girls’ honor and dignity. They have started discussions about this issue with women networks in Samangan province and following on, managed meetings with education department, provincial council members and at the end, met with some elders and community Shura to bring change in this school. At the same time, when these girls start advocacy for change in their community school, their act immediately copied by other women in the city and as well as Hazrat Sultan district. Thus, more number of requests for change in other girls’ schools which had male school masters sent to department of education. As a result, four male school masters in the girls’ high schools which one of them were accused of girls’ harassment were replaced with female educated school masters.
Capability of IWPR beneficiaries for advocacy at their community level is a direct output of the project which results to such important outcome in Samangan province. Advocacy for change in Old city of Aybak high school is not only safeguarding students’ honor but, also resulted to job opportunity for 4 capable women in this province as well.