*As in Canada, schools in Afghanistan have been closed by government order having a significant impact on this program. PWS&D’s partner in Afghanistan, Community World Service Asia, is monitoring the situation and planning for next steps.
Around the world, many countries are slowly but surely making progress on gender equality—Afghanistan is one of them.
In Afghanistan, cultural norms dictate that men often play a more central role in the political and social sphere, while women and girls are often limited to domestic duties. These traditions are centuries old and very embedded within communities, making them difficult to change.
With the support of PWS&D, Community World Service Asia’s (CWSA) girls’ education project has been working toward creating an Afghanistan where both gender and education equality are present. The project strives for gender equality by training teachers and communicating the significance of education, leadership development and democracy to young girls, their parents, and community leaders.
Each year, the project hosts a summer camp. During the camp, teachers and girls gather together to build awareness surrounding the rights of both women and men.
Sadaf and Nargi are two of 50 girls who participated in the most recent summer camp. There the girls learned about human rights, gender, sex, and leadership and democracy. Both girls left feeling excited and empowered thinking about what the future held for them.
Motivated and inspired about the important role they could play in their community, Sadaf and Nargi enrolled in their local Community Development Council. Although they initially faced resistance, the girls were eventually able to become active members.
Their participation in the council means that they can share challenges faced by other female students. They now have a platform to voice concerns and be part of decision-making, while also empowering other young girls.
Sadif and Nargi, and many other girls just like them, are challenging
cultural standards that will help pave the way for future generations to access quality education and be active participants in society, allowing their communities to thrive.