Afghan Women's Network
AWN

Afghan Women's Network

Introduction to International Women’s Day (8 March)

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements across the nations from the political, cultural, and economic to the social arenas – while calling for gender equality and acquiring women’s legal rights. The messages given at these events focus on various themes similarly AWN annually celebrates International women’s Day under particular theme reflecting the life of all Afghan women throughout the country. 

AWN’s Celebration of IWD across the country

This year the Afghan Women’s Network celebrated International Women’s Day and launched the  ‘Policy Brief- Where Afghan Women are heading’ on 8th March, 2016 at Kabul Star Hotel and contemporary at the provincial level. The event was inaugurated by recitation of few versus of holy Qur’an and playing the national anthem.

Subsequently the session was initiated by welcoming speech of Ms. Hasina Safi AWN’s executive director and congratulated the International Women’s Day and explained the agenda of the meeting to the participants. She said that “we will share the technical message of AWN in terms of the policy brief but being women I would like to conclude my congratulation message in three words as solidarity, coordination and tolerance among the women of Afghanistan”. She also added that “since February 2016, AWN has been engaged with specific programs for articulating the messages of the women at remote areas at the national and international levels in terms of policy brief for the welfare of women in Afghanistan and providing them protected environment. During this process we have called the messages and opinions of NUG, first lady and other decision makers to have technical event. In the month of February of 2016, AWN conducted a meeting with the core group and board members of AWN for generating plan for conducting the consultation meetings for collecting data for developing the policy brief. As a result of this meeting the core group and boards members planned to assign two persons to travel to each region and conduct the consultation meeting with the women at the regional level in seven zones”.

She also shed a light over the two presentations covering the topic of: (a) ‘Development process of the policy brief’; and (b) ‘the policy brief’. Meanwhile she asked the women who have paved the way and struggled for the realization of women’s rights to provide their opinions and commitments. To the continuation of the meeting, the AWN’s partners MOWA, MOLSAMD, MOHE, MOCN and UN-Women who have provided financial support to AWN, Parliamentarians, Representative of First Lady, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will provide their opinions. Based on the opinions of some of the partners, AWN was supposed to call those artists who have sung for support of Afghan ladies but  their busy schedule hindered us to have this even happen on due time. According to the contents of the agenda, AWN’s board members provided the appreciation letters to the secretariat of AWN for their innovations and tireless efforts which will be distributed at the end of the program. (Annex 1# Agenda Details).

Afterwards, Ms. Nadia Saleh the advisor of the first lady in the field of women’s affairs and security conveyed the message of BeBe Gul Ghani and said, “Despite the existing challenges against women in our beloved country, it is our pleasure celebrating 8 March. It’s obvious that women can play key role in the community reform, prosperity and peacebuilding by offering peacebuilders and righteous children to the community”. She also pointed women’s careful concentration as sign of a successful woman and said,” A successful woman always has physical and mental concentration on her duties and always prioritizes her tasks in according to the situation”. In addition, she showed her gladness toward the progress has been made over the time in the field of women’s promotion and said,” I feel happy being a witness of the progress been made in different arenas of women’s affairs; the young and energetic women are a good example of women’s development. Despite obstacles exist against women, recently the young women have had great achievements in many areas including but not limited to: trading, small, medium and large level business; many examples of women are in place who started their businesses from basic level with almost 10000AFN and now their businesses have grown up to imperial businesses which helps them provide financial support to their families.”. She also talked regarding women’s role in other fields and said, “Women’s contribution in hospitals, banks, organizations, universities, schools and security sectors have had positive outcomes which are signifying their confidence, responsibilities towards their family. The curiosity of young women who work with honesty gives me positive energy because the country needs them, and I am sure their hard working won’t be ineffective at the last wishing you the International women’s day to all afghan women”.

Ms. Mary Akrami congratulated IWD on behalf of AWN board members and provided information on new song of Ms. Aryana Saeed through TOLO TV at Afghan Star session which is sponsored with the financial support of AWSDE.

Subsequently Ms. Robina Hamdard briefed the developing process of the policy and added that AWN organized a meeting with the AWN’s core groups and board members on 03.02.2016 to choose the methodology of the consultation meetings at the provincial level and specify the topics for developing the policy paper. As a result of this meeting it was decided to conduct consultation meetings at seven zones and invite the prominent and elite women from the neighboring provinces to discuss on women’s empowerment, overview the current status of women in peace and security, and sustainable Development. Annex 2# for more details.

According to the agenda’s contents, the second session of the meeting was a panel discussion which was facilitated by Ms. Samira Hamidi AWN’s board member. She congratulated IWD and emphasized to have such programs indicating women’s achievements and innovations. She welcomed the panel members and suggested them to accordingly provide their opinions on policy brief and IWD.

Ms. Shinkai Karkhil the MP expressed her congratulation and focused on solidarity, and congratulated the policy brief as a big achievement to AWN particularly the consultation meetings that were conducted with women on community level from different categories for collecting their opinions and she also said that, “I expect to have same programs for common opinions to jointly struggle and defense the developed policy brief”. She called women to bridge effective coordination among themselves and build a culture of unity and acceptance not only in words but from inner with real meaning. She called on the Gender Directorate to support women empowerment and consider their existence at the top levels. Besides, she conveyed that financial aids and fundraising are important for women’s sustainable development and to implementation of initiatives pertaining to women’s empowerment in all arenas. She criticized that the policies and laws enforcement is deemed important while their existence remain only in piece of papers. “We did advocacy through the civil society to force Afghan government to dedicate a percentage of budge for women’s promotion. We need to form national commission to oversee the donated funds in Afghanistan and the laws either they are humanistic or not. This commission will be unparalleled and accountable to the president and can be good supporter of MOWA”.  

Ms. Habiba Surabi deputy of HPC wished to celebrate IWD with justice, equality and without discrimination in the future. She thanked the AWN for policy paper and said the problems and recommendations are well covered, and said “We are advocating increasing the number of women on key positions and we have suggested the government to have at least a female deputy in each ministry and these efforts until positive results”. She also said, “Economic empowerment of women is to sustainable development and yet Afghan government and other CSOs have not conducted any research or survey to find out the exact figures in terms of gaps and opportunities in the regard”. She suggested the CSOs and the government to pay attention in this regard. She added that the eradicating of violence against women through enforcement of EVAW law and other approaches is the only way that will enable women to have access to justice and as well as the FRUs.

Ms. Salamat Azimi said,” I would like to congratulate the AWN for developing comprehensive policy paper and I strongly hope AWN to follow up the recommendations. Still we need to work tirelessly for bringing peace, solidarity, and sustainability for the bright future of Afghanistan. Women plays significant and key role at the society from all aspects starting from family to politics, peace building, economics, etc.”  Moreover she said that, “Today women are facing many types of violence but the main reason behind this is the poor economic. If we could provide them employment opportunities and secure environment that time they could be self-esteemed and can preserve their economical independency. We can admire the work that we have done 14 years back. The rule of the CSOs is deemed important for coordination stability with the governmental sector and I would like announce my full support from the provided policy paper by AWN and I am committed for any assistance in this regard. I would like to mention that the number of the addicted people is increased that reaches to 1 million where 2.9% of them are consisting of females which is concerning and big challenge against women’s sustainable development. When a woman cannot handle herself then she won’t be able to treat righteous children to the society. I want all people to combat against drug addiction and support the MOCN for conducting the national campaign to aware the people from disadvantages of this evil”.  

Ms. Shah Gul Rezaye, congratulated IWD and said: “Majority of women’s related programs were designed based on the situation, criteria and condition of women living in capital regardless the facts and realities of remote areas of the country. In order to reach the root cause of the problems and seek the possible solutions the inputs and findings of the women shall be kept in the priorities”. She appreciated AWN’s efforts for being advocacy platform and reaching women at the very remote areas and said:” The recommendations that are provided in terms of policy brief from all women in Afghanistan is a good initiative but the main problem that Afghan women are facing is that women have limited their concerns and problems to themselves instead of involving male members of community”.

Certificates Distribution:

This event eventually ended with distribution of certificates to the AWN’s secretariat through the AWN’s ex- board members for their effective work efficiency and efforts during last two years.     

Annex 1# Event Agenda

Kabul Star Hotel

Kabul, Afghanistan

Mar 8, 2016

 

March 8, 2016

Facilitator

Topic

Time

AWN Team

Registration of the participants 

10:00 – 12:00

Mr. Fahim Shaikhani

Technical Team

  • Recitation of the holy Qur’an
  • National Anthem

 

10:00 – 10:05

Ms. Hasina Safi

Welcoming Message of AWN on honor of the  International Women’s Day 

10:05 – 10:15

Ms. Gul Rolla Ghani

Speech of First Lady

10:15 – 10:20

Ms. Robina Hamdard

Presentation on preparing of Policy Brief-where Afghan Women are heading

10:20 – 10:30

Ms. Roshan Siran

Presentation of Policy Brief- where women are heading 

10:30 – 02:45

Ms. Samira Hamidi

Discussion on status of women/Policy Brief- where women are heading

  • Ms. Nasrin Orya Khil Minister of MOLSAMD
  • Ms. Shah Gul Rezayee MP
  • Ms. Habiba Surabi Deputy of HPC and Advisor of Women’s Affairs and youth
  • Ms. Nabila Musleh Admin/Finance Director of MOWA
  • Ms. Nadia Saleh Advisor of First Lady and Women Affairs/Security

01:00 – 02:45

AWN EX-Board Members

 

Certificate distribution to AWN’s Secretariat

 

01:00 – 02:45

Ms .Roshan Mashal

Conclusion

01:00 – 02:45