Following the withdrawal of NATO forces, insurgent attacks have increased in Afghanistan, threatening the developmental gains of women and girls made over the past decade.
Women still face multiple barriers in exercising their rights, receiving protection against violence, accessing justice, increasing economic productivity and getting an education.Read the stories
Following the withdrawal of NATO forces, insurgent attacks have increased in Afghanistan, threatening development gains made over the past decade, especially with regard to women and girls. Women face multiple barriers in exercising their rights, protection against violence, access to justice, economic productivity and education. Eighty-seven percent of women in Afghanistan have experienced at least one form of physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage. Livelihoods and education opportunities for women are also extremely limited given low skill levels and cultural barriers and as a result, women face poor mobility and a lack of source of income to provide for themselves and their families.
For the past ten years, War Child Canada has been working with local partners in Afghanistan focusing on women’s economic empowerment and education. In 2014, War Child Canada expanded its programming to provide access to justice for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) survivors.
War Child Canada provides Early Childhood Development (ECD), helping get children vital early year’s education and ensuring the transition to formal schools is successful. Women in Kabul saw such value in the provision of ECD for their children that they offered to pay fees themselves to allow the program to continue. War Child Canada also runs child friendly spaces, providing a safe space for children to learn and play. Spaces are established in partnership with community-based shuras and run by trained volunteers. In an extensive survey with the children, 92% of them stated that they share what they learn in the Spaces with other children.
In partnership with Afghan NGOs, War Child Canada also provides internally displaced women and survivors of SGBV with literacy, numeracy and vocational training. Women who complete the program report contributing an average of 25% of the household’s monthly income (more information below under ‘opportunity’). Mullahs in Jalalabad were supportive of the program and asked War Child Canada to expand and educate more women.
Upon completion of vocational training, women are given an initial micro credit loans and provided with ongoing professional and peer mentorship and business development support to enable them to launch their own small businesses. The impact of War Child’s programming on the lives of the participants and their families has been immediate and profound. Over 700 women have received vocational training with 98% successfully operating small businesses. Loans are managed through Village Organizations with women guaranteeing each other’s loans, there is currently a zero default rate on the loans. Additionally, 99% of women report an increased level of involvement in household decision making and 94% of the women stated that the attitude of male community members has positively changed towards women who are working.
War Child Canada is a registered law firm in Afghanistan. A three-tiered approach is used including: direct legal aid, community outreach and training of legal actors including police. This program is unique in that it also targets women who have been imprisoned for ‘moral crimes’ (e.g. running away from domestic violence or a forced marriage), offering them legal representation and helping them to transition back into the community through enrolment in literacy/numeracy or vocational training. In the first 12 months War Child Canada registered over 700 cases, making it one of the largest legal aid providers in the country.Donate
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The generosity of our donors allows War Child to continue protecting children and providing war-affected communities with educational, vocational and legal resources. We thank you in advance for your support.Donate