Over the last eighteen years, admirable efforts have been made in favor of women’s empowerment in Afghanistan resulting in many notable achievements. However, many of these improvements and achievements have largely been symbolic and have yet to be translated to the grassroots level. The situation of Afghan women is becoming increasingly precarious as insecurity increases and spreads across the country. Gender based violence, exclusion and discrimination continue to limit women’s access to education and healthcare and their ability to participate in social, economic, and political life, particularly in rural areas. Despite the persistent challenges, women are important actors that have already played an important and courageous role in claiming their rights and contributing to the development of Afghanistan.
Since 2015 with the financial support of Royal Netherlands Embassy, EPD partnered with Cordaid and APPRO to empower women at grass-root levels to take care of their own peace and security. The project was realized through in-depth research, capacity building and advocacies.
During the implementation of this project, EPD created 15 Provincial Women Networks (PWN) and provided them with capacity building and awareness raising programs on topics such as UNSCR 1325, Women Peace and Security, In Her Shoes, etc. The networks were also supported to facilitated provincial and national dialogues and participate in quarterly coordination meeting and biannual exchange events aimed to share their achievements and learn from each other’s experiences.
The PWNs utilized Barometer research to collect evidence-based issues pertaining to challenges that hinder women’s peace and security. As per finding and recommendations of the Barometer research and cases studies (carried out by APPRO), the networks designed advocacy strategies to address the identified issues.
For sustainability of the PWNs, the members were trained on proposal writing to mobilize fund opportunity and independently, conduct their activities. They were registered with the Department of Justice as independent association to get official permission for their functioning.