UK govt committed to promoting Afghan women’s rights
KABUL (Pajhwok): Celebrating International Women’s Day in Kabul, the British Embassy on Tuesday said the UK government remained steadfastly committed to working with the government of Afghanistan and civil society to promote Afghan women’s rights.
On the occasion, British Ambassador to Afghanistan Dominic Jeremy said the women of Afghanistan had suffered terribly during years of conflict.
“The contribution they are now making to society would have been unthinkable when I was last here in 2002. But so much more needs to be done to advance the position of women in Afghan society.”
Jeremy said as President Ashraf Ghani had said women were one of Afghanistan’s three majorities, yet they remained a minority when it came to participation in politics and the economy.
“I therefore strongly welcome the Afghan government’s commitment to women’s rights through empowering women and ending violence against them.”
On the eve of the International Women’s Day, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said their statistics showed 241 women had been murdered in the country in 2015 as a result of domestic violence.
“Improving lives of girls and women remains central to the UK’s role in Afghanistan. We are proud of what we’ve done and continue to do to support Afghan women. For example, UK aid has helped create over 44,000 jobs here, including 13,000 for women,” said Chris Austin, DFID Country Director.
“A further sign of this commitment is our new partnership with the Afghan Finance Ministry, the Aga Khan Foundation and the Afghan NGO Zardozi. We will be investing some $1.2 million to help Afghan female entrepreneurs and to develop a National Action Plan on Women’s Empowerment.”
Aga Khan Foundation-Afghanistan CEO, Jan Schollaert, said the national unity government was undertaking important steps to develop the National Economic Empowerment Plan for women (NEEP), which would strengthen the quality of life for women and their families in Afghanistan.
“While this process is underway, DFID, Zardozi and AKF-A have initiated an exciting collaboration to pilot a new model for women’s economic empowerment.”
He said in particular, the project would support groups of women to establish and manage a community-based platform through which all aspects of economic empowerment could be addressed, including increasing their access to finance and their participation in remunerated work and entrepreneurship.
The UK is supporting many other initiatives to help Afghan women to play an active role in society. Through our programmes we are helping to address violence against women, to support women in the security forces, and to encourage women’s political participation. Education is fundamental to women’s empowerment. We are directly helping to support more than 180,000 girls to attend school through the Girls Education Challenge, a community based and accelerated learning education system.
Sohila a beneficiary of the Girls Education Challenge programme, said: “I feel really proud of all the things I have learned in class and I am really happy. My family and the other people in the community are very grateful to the programme.:
She said they appreciated their work, especially helping girls like her, who were uneducated, to attend school.
The British Embassy said they were pleased to launch on Tuesday an essay competition on the current challenges facing women in Afghanistan and what could be done to overcome them. “Details can be found on our facebook page: www.facebook.com/ukinafghanistan.”
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