AFD strives for the empowerment of communities and improved human rights in Afghanistan. Our vision for Afghanistan is one of a society based on democracy and the rule of law, where every individual has access to his/her own rights.
We direct our efforts towards promoting the rights of the most vulnerable: women, children, people living with disabilities and isolated communities. Whether through high-level events at the United Nations, workshops in schools and universities, or field visits to communities in Afghanistan, we promote our core message, in order to serve sustainable development efforts.
Giving Women Panel Discussion (March 2023)
As the migrant population has grown tragically to over 100 million globally, Giving Women decided to invite a panel of experts, including our Program Director Zuhra– Dadgar-Shafiq, to take a deep dive into understanding what is forcing women to migrate and how migration affects the lives of women and girls. The panelists shared insights into the situation in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Latin America, with the purpose of sharing knowledge and best practices from different parts of the world.
The conversation demonstrated how the situation of women migrants with their children is very complex and multilayered, and highlights the importance of making governments, and host populations recognize that all migrants need to be protected and respected. Women who make these dangerous journeys with their children in their own countries or abroad, are desperate and have NO other choices.
ECW High-Level Financing Conference (February 2023)
Action for Development’s co-founder and Program Director, Zuhra Dadgar-Shafiq, participated in a panel discussion of Afghanistan women sharing their work to support the rights of Afghanistan’s girls to education and the right to work as humanitarian workers in order to earn their living. The panelists also provided concrete recommendations for the international community to support and amplify their work.
AfD’s co-founder and Program Director, Zuhra Dadgar-Shafiq, highlighted in which three areas the international community can support:
- Provision of financial support to the local organizations and NGOS promoting girls’ education in Afghanistan
- Holding advocacy and awareness campaigns to highlight the importance of girl’s education in Afghanistan, for instance via media outreach and social media campaigns
- Provide resources such as digital learning materials, easy textbooks, online learning programs and platforms that improve the quality and access to education for girls in Afghanistan
To see our co-Founder and Program Director, Zuhra Dadgar-Shafiq, speak at this event by clicking the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW53v4Y83j4
ECW High-Level Financing Conference (with UNHCR)
Side-event: Advanced Digital Learning and Inclusion of children affected by conflict – Where to invest next?
On February 16th, Action for Development, in collaboration with UNHCR and War Child, co-hosted a side event for the ECW’s High-Level Financing Conference. The event brought together key actors to discuss and share the current status of digital and edtech programmes and investment available for refugee children and their host communities.
The side event also highlighted the key factors in implementing and scaling digital programmes for refugees and explored opportunities to utilize digital learning in order to reach the hardest-to-reach learners.
Action for Development aims at providing girls in Afghanistan (currently prioritising secondary schools girls) with access to digital education so they can pursue and complete their schooling. Secondary school girls are the priority today as this age group are currently banned from attending secondary school under the Taliban regime. AfD strives to find collaborators who would be interested in supporting the secondary and high school education for girls deprived of their humanitarian rights. Providing this alternative service, will result in girls having an opportunity to finish off their schooling years, and open them opportunities for their future.
Human Rights Council Side Event: Girls’ Education in Afghanistan
On 31 March 2023, Action for Development was a co-host for the Side Event 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council focusing on the topic of “The Right to Education in Afghanistan: Unleashing the Potential of the next Afghan Generation” In coordination with the other co-hosts (Group of seven plus (g7+), the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the United Nations Office in Geneva, and HWPL Switzerland, 33 United Nations Member States discussed the importance of education in ensuring sustainable peace and development in Afghanistan.
This side event highlighted the issue of the cessation of education for girls and women in Afghanistan, and the recent suspension of women’s access to universities. Some of the risks associated with the current situation include exploitation, abuse, and early forced marriages. Depriving girls of access to secondary and higher education will have a lasting effect on the country’s economy and lead to a shortage of female teachers, doctors, and nurses.
AfD’s Program Director, Zuhra Dadgar-Shafiq, summarized the leading recommendations made by the panel and participants, highlighting that no religion prohibits education for girls, and there should be continued multi-stakeholder dialogue on solutions for girls’ education in Afghanistan, including the creation of a platform for collaboration with national and international education actors. Another proposed solution included increased support for online and home-based schools for female students. A third suggestion was to utilize peace education as an effective tool to promote a culture of tolerance and dialogue. And with the increasing number of families with girls leaving the country, facilitating transformative education solutions for refugees becomes more crucial.
International Women’s Day Webinar – Afghan Women and their Future (2022)
In honor of International Women’s Day, Action for Development (AfD) held an online panel discussion focusing on Afghan Women and their future. Zuhra Dadgar-Shafiq, AfD co-founder, reminded everyone that by mid-2022, 90% of Afghans are expected to fall below the poverty line, with women and children being the most drastically impacted. Even though the three panelists (Atalanti Moquette, Lida Nadery Hedayat and Heather Barr) painted alarming existing conditions for women, who have seen their rights undermined since change of regime in August 2021, they assured that a better future is possible. Substantial investments in local women-led organizations, international cooperation and repeated awareness campaigns were mentioned as key factors to change the status quo and ensure better life prospects in Afghanistan.
Stay tuned to read the top takeaways to be released soon!
United Nations Event
Rights based Approach, Maternal Mortality
In 2015, AfD organized an event in cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the permanent mission of Afghanistan, and other countries on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The event focused on Maternal Mortality as a human rights concern, needing accelerated efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs, now revised to SDGs).
Education and Research
Graduate Institute Workshop on Social Innovation
To find innovative solutions for safe water provision, AfD sought technology and education-driven solutions. This provided an opportunity to engage students from the Graduate Institute Geneva (IHEID) through their organization called C4SI – Collaborate for Social Impact. Students developed a detailed design for a water treatment solution for the Comprehensive Health Centre, adapted for a small-size NGO like AfD.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Decades of war left many Afghans without proper sanitation and clean water supply. Combined with a lack of hygiene education, communities are exposed to dangerous waterborne diseases. Through its WASH program, AfD has led awareness-raising campaigns in partnership with the Afghan government to assist the population in rebuilding water-supplying infrastructures and educate on hygiene practices.