In order to increase women’s participation in the political process, EQUALITY for Peace and Democracy (EPD) developed and implemented three projects with a focus on civic education. The first was a pilot training for women in the southern region, which revolved around the development and implementation of a rigorous curriculum. This was eventually followed up by a conference at the national level in Kabul.
The second component of the project was called “Women and Elections Dialogue” and targeted the norther region. It provided a platform for women to discuss the challenges they face to engage in the political process, focusing on the upcoming elections, and to come up with recommendations for relevant key stakeholders.
These conversations were complemented by a conference in Kabul where 200 women from the center and provinces reviewed manifestos of presidential candidates through the lens of women’s rights. They also interacted with policy-makers to increase women’s participation in the upcoming elections and to prepare a list of women’s expectations for the future president.
The first activity provided a multi-regional platform for women to express their concerns about the elections and formulate opportunities for women to be involved in the election process. In this manner, the platform functioned as a civic education awareness tool that could be implemented in future projects. Furthermore, the dialogue and training program was able to strengthen women’s networks in the targeted provinces. They were able to establish their own coalitions to further their advocacy activities. Lastly, the national conference in Kabul emphasized the agency of women in the political process and amplified their voices. This was the first time in Afghan political history that women were given the exclusive platform to discuss their concerns with presidential candidates.