Courtesy of Wadsam

More than 75 women members of Provincial Peace Councils (PPCs) met in Kabul on Wednesday to plot a strategy to advocate for the interests of women in the peace process.

Over 120 Promote Musharikat “Women in Peace” Coalition activists and influential religious leaders joined the conversation to review how women will be linked and consulted in the process, to assess PPC members’ negotiation and collaboration skills, and to plan how to most effectively advocate for women’s interests. After a two-day working session, the participants presented their national campaign plan to senior stakeholders at the Government Media and Information Center (GMIC).

Several women members of the PPCs shared personal stories of the restrictions on their lives under Taliban rule, and how the current security situation directly impacts the health and happiness of their families.

Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah emphasized that he fully supported the efforts of the participants and noted, “We need peace with dignity for both sides.” U.S. Ambassador John Bass noted, “The United States strongly supports a future Afghanistan in which all of its citizens have an opportunity to live in the peace and dignity with rights. The contributions that women will make towards achieving an end to the conflict are critical to the success and sustainability of this effort. And so, it’s vitally important that the interests of women are fully represented in this process.”

The participants of the two-day work session focused on the challenges they face in their communities including improving respect for women’s rights and creating space for women in local leadership.

Despite the challenges, Deputy Chairperson to the High Peace Council Dr. Habiba Sarabi assured the participants that the High Peace Council and Promote Musharikat will support them in their advocacy work. She highlighted the vision and four objectives (see below) coming out of the two days and noted, “The Musharikat Women in Peace Process Coalition is a positive step towards women being heard”.

Musharikat is part of the USAID Promote program. Promote consists of four components: leadership development, civil service training, economic empowerment and civil society advocacy. This program already assisted over 60,000 young women across the country.

The women of Afghanistan are leaders in a just, sustainable and inclusive peace process

Objective One

  • Raise awareness of the critical importance of women’s roles in the peace process
  • Mullahs engage with local communities and educational institutions
  • Regional and national TV, radio and print media campaigns

Objective Two

  • Increase the ability of provincial peace committee members to support and engage in the peace process
  • Conflict resolution/ mediation training provided to PPCs
  • Advocacy and persuasion training to CSOs and other stakeholders

Objective Three

  • Establish support and advocacy networks for the provincial peace committees
  • Actor mapping at local, regional and national levels
  • Broad consultations and coordination with stakeholders groups

Objective Four

  • Undertake advocacy and lobbying for greater inclusion of women in the peace process
  • Lobbying for a greater role for female members of PPCs
  • Advocacy meetings with negotiation teams, HPC and other GIRoA stakeholders to get more women
  • around the table
  • Engagement with relevant international community actors

Header Image: USAID/Afghanistan