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Sharing Women’s Responses to Radicalization in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Introduction

The purpose of this project is to enhance women’s exchange between Afghanistan and Pakistan for countering radicalization and building peace in both countries, to create platform for harbouring bridges between women peace activists of Pakistan and Afghanistan, enabling women-women exchange of learning and strategizing together for countering radicalization and peacebuilding. A network “Pak-Af Pul-e-Niswaan Baraye Aman” will be created through which at least two exchange programs will be organized for Pak-Af women peace activists providing the opportunity to women activists to build linkages and develop a better understanding of the impact and women’s responses to radicalization and violent extremism, and a Strategy Paper on “Women-Women Exchanges for Countering Radicalization” will be published at the end of the project, to be used as a global advocacy document for promoting more women-women exchanges/linkages and co-operation for countering radicalization.”

Activities

Aware Girls and its partner organisation in Afghanistan will conduct a research using Focus Group Discussion, Interviews, Story Collecting, and Secondary Data analysis to document impact of radicalization/violent extremism on women and women’s responses to the issue. The research will act as a resource and rationale for civil society to develop programs for peace building focussing on engaging women as partners in peace building, and will be used as an advocacy tool to advocate for inclusion of women in peace building process at all levels.

A women’s peace activists’ network will be established bringing together women peace activists of Pakistan and Afghanistan together. The network will consist of 20 women peace activists from each implementing country, at least 5 young women peace activists represented from each country in the network. The network will be a platform to build linkages, develop ideas together, advocate for women’s participation in peace building and understand concerns relating to relations between two countries.

To build bridges between Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s women peace activists Aware Girls and its partner Organisation will start an Exchange Program named as “Pak-Af Pul-e-Niswan Baraye Aman”. 2 Exchange Programs will be organised; one in Afghanistan and one in Pakistan. For each exchange program, 2 groups of 30 women peace activists will be developed (including women peace activists from both countries. 1st group will comprise of 20 women peace activists from Afghanistan and 10 women peace activists from Pakistan, the 2nd Group will comprise of 20 women from Pakistan and 10 women from Afghanistan.

In the last quarter of the project, out of the 40 women peace activists who are part of the network, 20 will be selected and brought together in Pakistan for a 5 days Workshop on “Use of Digital Stories to Strengthen Women to Women Linkages in Pak-Af Region” on the basis of letter of interest received by Aware Girls. In the 5 days workshop, the women peace activists will be equipped with digital story telling skills for amplifying women’s voices. The participants will develop at least 10 digital stories by the end of the workshop highlighting impact of radicalization on women in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and women’s role in countering radicalization. These digital stories will be made available online and will be used to amplify women’s voices for peace, highlight impact of radicalization on women and women’s responses to radicalization.

A social media campaign will be launched titled “Women Get Connected”, through which women peace activists from across the Pak-Af border will share their stories of living under violent extremism and radicalization, facts and stories from the Research Report will be shared, stories of women building peace, reconciliation and countering radicalization in their communities, and will bridge women-women connections. The digital stories developed will be used in the social media campaign. Women will be asked to share 1 minute videos about their Pak-Af cross-borders experiences.

These exchange programs will also be used as an opportunity to conduct consultation with these 2 groups of women peace activists for “Strategy Paper on Increasing Women-Women Connects for Countering Radicalization in Afghanistan”. The draft of strategy paper will be approved by the women peace activists who are part of the network, will be published and disseminated via the networks of partners and stakeholders of each organisation.