Over the last fifteen years, admirable efforts have been made in favor of women’s empowerment in Afghanistan resulting in many notable achievements. Today, many Afghan women are interested and engaged in social, economic and political developments including the processes of peace negotiations and security reform. 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.
Understanding local women’s realities
The Barometer of Women’s Security is an innovative approach that engages vulnerable women in identifying and communicating their needs, and empowers them to engage with relevant stakeholders to design and implement solutions. Moreover, it’s both a strategy to empower women, and also a monitoring tool. The Barometer of Women’s Security will provide legitimacy to the project.
A strong evidence base is essential for informed advocacy, and to increase our understanding of the factors impacting – positively or negatively – on the security situation of women. Based on the experience the MWST project – monitoring the impact of security transition on women and gender relations since September 2012 –the partners identified the need to strengthen, and adapt the research component of the proposed project
Advocacy for policy changes
The project will apply a comprehensive advocacy approach that connects community-led advocacy initiatives with advocacy at the provincial, national and international level. With the mobilization and monitoring activities conducted through the Barometer, the project will ensure that advocacy aimed to instigate behavioral and policy changes will be informed by women’s perspectives, interests and needs on the ground.
Capacity development of women’s organizations
During the first phase of the project, the partners will conduct a needs assessment among PWN members. These needs assessments will subsequently inform the development of curricula for building the capacity of PWN members. Existing curricula on community-based monitoring, peace building, women’s rights and good governance that EPD previously used to train PWN Coordinators and members will be re-viewed, adjusted and rewritten so as to fit this specific project’s needs. Each year, PWN provincial coordinators will be invited for a five-day Training of Trainers (ToT) in Kabul. After the ToT, the provincial coordinators will provide a 4-day training for the 30 PWN members in their respective provinces. The project will ensure that the trainings are being conducted according to the standards of the curriculum through monthly reporting, quarterly M&E field visits and quarterly meetings with all PWN provincial coordinators in Kabul.