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Women for Afghan Women
Women for Afghan Women is a grassroots, civil society organization. Our mission is dedicated to securing and protecting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan and New York, particularly their rights to develop their individual potential, to self-determination, and to be represented in all areas of life: political, social, cultural and economic. WAW advocates for women’s rights and challenges the norms that underpin gender-based violence wherever opportunities arise to influence attitudes and bring about change.
WAW was founded in New York in April 2001 by a group of women determined to advocate for Afghan women then living under brutal Taliban rule. The organization has been operating in Afghanistan since 2002, having built schools for girls and opened hundreds of literacy and vocational training classes. We opened our first Family Guidance Center (FGC) and Shelter in Kabul in March 2007, and have since rapidly expanded to 26 facilities in ten provinces. In New York City, we have operated a Community Center for the local Afghan population since 2002, and we recently launched an advocacy office in Washington, D.C. in January 2014.
WAW provides legal aid, safe shelter, healthcare, social services, education, and economic empowerment to thousands of women and children each year.
A plan to educate men about women’s rights, then select the most promising and interested students to mount a first-of-its-kind national campaign against gender-based violence across Afghanistan.
[Summary by the Amplify Team]
Hi Bea: It's Esther again, still writing for Vanessa (and Women for Afghan Women. I want to start a dialogue with you, but I have a deadline (2 deadlines, in fact), so give me a few days. We have a lot to talk about.
The Ideo team had a similar question. I am sending you our answer. I don't believe WE can convince them. Time will convince them. The way the wind is now blowing in Afghanistan (In support of democracy, rule of law, progress on women's rights) will convince them. Here's our answer to the Ideo question: How will you ensure that they do not participate solely for the economic incentive? We can’t ensure that they won’t. We have to hope that even those who do participate for money (And who can blame them; there is dire poverty all over Afghanistan and everyone suffers.) will also be influenced by the material. These are not mutually exclusive conditions. They know things are changing in Afghanistan. The election showed mullahs that the people want democracy and are sick of Karzai and his corrupt government. The unexpected turnout of women, who braved the Taliban threats of violence, showed them that women are becoming empowered to reject subjugation and demand their right to a role in public life. Mullahs saw that the people, uneducated people from rural villages all over the country, were willing to risk their lives to vote, to change the country. In addition, thousands of WAW trainees in the past have lost trust in religious authorities because they have learned that mullahs have been feeding them false information about the role of women in Islam for generations. Enough mullahs will realize that they had better get on board or the train of change will leave them in the station, without a constituency, without a power base, without influence.