Afghan women play a key role as peace builders

TMP – 28/06/2017

Afghanistan wants  its women to play a stronger role in civil society and wider peace-building efforts in the country.

Charities and women’s rights organisations are hoping to unlock Afghan women’s potential by empowering them to start businesses, embrace new and emerging technologies, and become financially independent.

Digital Citizen Fund, a non-profitable  organisation setup to support women and girls in developing countries, has been providing IT training for Afghan women and girls. So far trained more than 10,000 women have attended their IT centres in Kabul and Herat. Co-founder of the organization Elaha Mahboob said that technology is helping change women’s role in society.

“Most importantly, day by day, Afghan women are relying economically on themselves – things that were completely prohibited during the Taliban regime,” Mahboob said.

Another charity, War Child, has been working in Afghanistan for 15 years and provides loans for women impacted by war to start their own business. The women in the programme, who come from very poor parts of the country and are the most vulnerable, have an impressive 99% repayment rate on their business loans.

Experts say empowering women is a long-term peace strategy and that women must play an active role in Afghanistan’s peace and reconciliation process.

“The more we are promoting and contributing to women in those leadership roles, strengthening civil society – I mean, that, to us – is really what lays the foundation for peace in many of those environments,” said Dr Samantha Nutt from War Child.