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A Century of Women for Empowerment - UN-HABITAT Afghanistan

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day 2011, UN-HABITAT Afghanistan was pleased to celebrate this day. This year, “Equal access to education, training and science and technology” was the global theme. The commemoration was held at UN-HABITAT Country Office in Kabul as well as in 19 provinces on 8th of March 2011.

In Kabul, more than 100 male and female staff were invited to congratulate the women on their efforts to achieve our project activities under the deteriorating security condition in Afghanistan aiming at promoting gender equality and empowerment of women across the country. It was opened by Mr Jan Turkstra on behalf of the Country Representative with a message addressing that UN-HABITAT contributes to women’s empowerment and capacity development by establishing of both men and women Community Development Councils (CDC) to improve their living conditions at the community level through vocational training, income generation and skills training in Afghanistan. Such community-driven approach, known as People’s Process, as community mobilization takes into account the socio-cultural and socio-economic context in addressing gender issues.

With all projects implemented by UN-HABITAT Afghanistan, a number of women CDCs has been formed and supported in capacity building to promote women’s participation in a decision making process. Present projects have a large number of women beneficiaries, on average 40 to 60%, in a literacy programme in twenty provinces linked to livelihoods and community banking; a peace-building project improving living conditions in urban and rural area through improved infrastructure and services and provision of skills training for income generation; and a behavior change communication project focusing on maternal health and healthcare of women and girls.

Followed by the opening speech, winners of “Men Champion Contest,” which awards three best success stories telling men’s support to women family members, were announced and given prizes. Approximately 40 success stories were reviewed and ranked by members of the Gender Working Group of UN Country Team. At the end, Afghan traditional garments were handed over to each female participant as a gift of the International Women’s Day in not only Kabul but 19 provinces as well.

Detail activities of the celebration on the International Women’s Day 2011 undertaken by UN-HABITAT Afghanistan as well as some pictures from Kapisa province and a brief report from Helmand province are attached.

The commemoration was organized by Ms Kubra Zaifi and Yoshiko Ogawa, Gender Advisors in support from all the projects.

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