PHOTOS: Equipping Women to Push for Inclusion in the Afghan Peace Process

   •    July 30, 2014

Last month, in Kabul, Inclusive Security conducted the latest in a series of advocacy trainings for Afghan women. Twenty-one participants from nine provinces faced down major demonstrations, a terrorist attack, and new security roadblocks to attend the workshop. As tensions from Afghanistan’s deteriorating electoral process heightened, we—along with our local partner, the Afghan Women’s Network—built the capacity of these key leaders to advocate for the inclusion of women in Afghanistan’s peace process.

In our advocacy trainings around the world, we guide participants through the process of identifying problems, crafting effective solutions, and delivering concrete recommendations to those with the power to affect policy change. Prior to this series of workshops in Afghanistan, most of the women had no advocacy experience. Here’s a look at how they learned new skills and put that knowledge into practice to help transform their society.

A sign welcoming participants to the four-day advocacy workshop on “Women’s Empowerment in Leadership Technical Capacity.” As leaders of civil society organizations, the participants collectively represented the voices of thousands of women across Afghanistan.

Inclusive Security Vice Chair Miki Jacevic facilitating a discussion with participants about their activities since the group’s previous gathering. This was the second workshop with our third cohort of Afghan women leaders, in a series of trainings funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A comprehensive list of the challenges and successes participants encountered while implementing their individual action plans from the first session. These reflections were displayed on the wall for the duration of the second workshop, to serve as a source of inspiration and learning for future activities.

Women working in small groups to craft actionable recommendations for the policymakers with whom they would meet on the final day. Over the course of the training, participants were immersed in Inclusive Security’s approach to advocacy through interactive role plays, discussions, and concrete analysis.

Hasina, from Herat, shares her experience crafting targeted messages for policymakers and media. Hasina was part of an AWN delegation instrumental in creating the Six Points Petition on women’s inclusion, signed by presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah in a public ceremony on June 12.

At the conclusion of the gathering, a participant details the security challenges in her community, particularly those faced by rural widows and single mothers who are under daily Taliban threat. Using the advocacy and messaging skills they learned throughout the training, the women delivered illustrative examples and concrete solutions to members of the Afghan Parliament.

Members of the Afghan Parliament take notes as participants speak about the challenges Afghan women face in their communities, identify barriers to women’s participation in the peace process, and suggest means by which women’s access and active participation could be enhanced. The attendees’ recommendations, developed over the previous four days, were formally written and presented to the parliamentarians.

After delivering their recommendations, participants pose for a photo with Canadian Ambassador Deborah Lyons. The women advocated for Canada and other international donors to reserve funds specifically to support women’s inclusion in the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program.

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Did you know?

  • Since 1999, Inclusive Security has trained hundreds of women in conflict areas worldwide to lead peacebuilding initiatives at the local, national, and international levels.
  • Over the last year alone, staff led more than two dozen trainings and workshops for women leaders, as well as for policymakers at the UN, US Department of State, and US Department of Defense, among others.
  • In 2013-2014, we equipped women in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Colombia, Indonesia, Israel, Liberia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, The Philippines, Rwanda, South Sudan and Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Syria with the skills to transform peace and security policy.

Read more about our training services here.

Candace Gibson is a Program Assistant at The Institute for Inclusive Security, where she focuses on strengthening women’s participation in Afghanistan’s peace process.

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