As Afghanistan is still in the process of recovering from a war that lasted from 2001-2014, the main focus of our program is to support citizen participation in the development of this young democracy, improve societal conditions for women and to promote peace at all levels of society.
The country’s democratic institutions remain fragile after years of foreign intervention, and our partners are working to encourage grassroots participation in governance and the peace process. As women remain highly marginalized in Afghanistan, improving their status in society, strengthening their rights and contributing to their economic autonomy are priorities.
Before, as I couldn’t read and write, I had to sign using my thumbprint without reading or understanding the documents. After attending the AWRC literacy classes, now, I am able to read the documents and then sign.” Roya, member of AWRC who couldn’t go to school due to Taliban restrictions.
Our partners intervene at the local, regional and national levels to affect change and ensure that the voices of even the most excluded are part of the country’s reconstruction.
Afghanistan is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world. It has been the theatre of two devastating wars over the last 40 years: the Soviet-Afghan war from 1979 to 1989; and the Afghan War from 2001 to 2014, which was sparked by the 9-11 attacks on New York City. In both cases, there was a high level of foreign intervention that had a significant impact on governance in the country, and power struggles continue to mar elections.
Gender equality in Afghanistan remains among the worst in the world. Women continue to experience extreme forms of discrimination and exclusion, limiting their access to financial resources, to the job market, and to services such as education and healthcare. Furthermore, the implementation of the landmark 2009 presidential Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) has remained poor.
Following the withdrawal of NATO combat forces in December 2014, insecurity continues to plague the country and civilian casualties remain high. Increased fighting with ISIS and the Taliban on different frontlines is resulting more suffering for Afghan civilians.