First Lady Rula Ghani listened attentively to the concerns and needs of the women we serve and answered them with a commitment to promote women’s empowerment.
We are proud to announce that a group of our Afghan program graduates were able to secure a personal meeting with Afghanistan’s First Lady, Rula Ghani. Armed with skills learned in our “Change Agents Program,” our grads worked together with the Afghan Women’s Network to create this opportunity to advocate for their sisters’ rights and opportunities in rural Afghanistan. Despite continued attacks and insecurity in Afghanistan, they traveled from several remote communities to speak with Ms. Ghani about the problem of gendered discrimination and domestic violence. They voiced their concerns and shared thoughts on potential solutions.
One of the Change Agents from Kapisa province, named Latifa, described how Women for Women International has compelled women to become more active in her community and that she herself was able to arrange advanced numeracy training for Women for Women graduates in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture in her province. This numeracy training is invaluable for investing in marketable trades and building a stronger economic future for the women and their families.
Razima, from Nangarhar province, spoke about the importance of security and peace. She argued that lack of safety and security is linked to poverty and violence at home, telling Ms. Ghani, “the unstable security condition is due to lack of education and poor economy which affects children, women, family and [the whole] community.”
Another Change Agent who traveled from Parwan province, advocated for men’s engagement programs and creating markets for women to sell their products. She explained, “If you train men, bring changes in their attitudes, and provide them with work opportunity it will the effect women’s lives.”
Nesa, a graduate of our program from Kabul, spoke about the vital need for investing in creating markets for women. She said that many women in her community have a good supply of products to offer but are not able to sell them in local markets because of insecurity, lack of safe spaces for women, and poverty.
First Lady Rula Ghani listened attentively to the concerns and needs of the women we serve and answered them with a commitment to promote women’s empowerment through economic independence programs, creating markets for women to make their products available for sale, and opening literacy centers in provinces across the country. She further reaffirmed her interest in collaborating with the Change Agents trained by Women for Women International.
To conclude the meeting, a Women for Women International staff member spoke about our history and work in Afghanistan and our continued commitment to help Afghan women as they rebuild their lives. She also thanked the Change Agents for their courage, commending them for acting as bold voices for other women in their communities.
This blog was written with support from Women for Women International-Afghanistan staff who are not named due to security concerns.