Overall Objective – To improve prospects for women,girls and children by using productively the period they spend in the shelter(from a few weeks to 2 years). This entails offering educational opportunities,life skills training, instruction on women’s human rights, vocational trainingand other services that promote psychological well-being and provide physicaland intellectual stimulation and advancement.
Progress towards achieving the overall objective:
From2008– April 30, 2012, the Kabul FGC/shelter registered 2220cases . Of these cases:
Cases in follow-up 202
Cases referred to other FGCs andagencies: 297
Legal cases 854
Counseling/mediation cases 1351
Female clients 1471
Male clients 27
Underage clients 722
Childrenaccompanying mothers to shelter: 603
Objective 1: Enhanced access for women/girls-at-risk tosafe living quarters, protective services such as professional legal assistanceand social inclusion (re-integration into family and/or society) whenfeasible.
Progress towardsachieving Objective 1
Cases fortwo-year reporting period: May 1, 2010 -April 20, 2012:
Number of new cases 954 (This two year period shows a 6% increase in clients over the previous two years.
Mediation & counseling cases 611
Legal cases 343
Female clients 667
Male clients 3
Underage clients 284
Closed cases 722
Cases in follow-up from current period 147
Cases from previous period still in follow-up 55
Cases still open 85
Women in KabulFGC shelter 856
Children withmothers in shelter 143
Women currentlyin shelter 41
Children currently in shelter 14
Police stations 303
Criminal office (MoI) 100
WAW offices 47Walayat 1Attorney General 7
Other NGOs 12
Transitional House 5
Types of cases:
Domestic Violence 308
Forbidden marriage 2
Forced marriage 40
Mental problem 14
Social problems 296
Exchanged marriage 4
Child marriage 1
FGC staff perform follow-ups of cases forone year after a resolution has been reached to protect the client (and family)against a return of the human rights violation that brought her to the FGC in thefirst place. These visits comply with the contractual agreement each familiessigns before the client returns home. Follow-ups remain a challenge for WAWstaff (See challenge section of this report).
About a year and a half ago, WAW made the decision to train its lawyers in criminal law. Before
this time, they had treated only civil law cases. This decision was an eye-opener. We have had
cases in which girls as young as 10 have been rapedor prostituted. In the majority of cases
we have been unable to get courts to prosecute the
alleged perpetrator because the girl does not have “proof” that she was raped—as if a child would make this claim
dishonestly. It is also common in Afghanistan for prosecutors to accuse clientswho have been raped—including underage clients—of having engaged in consensualsex. Behind the misogyny is corruption: menin Afghanistan can rape and prostitute women/girls with impunity by bribingprosecutors and judges. Nothing is everdone about it. In rare cases, when evidenceis overwhelming, men are actually convicted and sentenced. Then they bribetheir way out of prison.
During the past 12 months, WAW lawyers worked on 185 legal cases.
Domestic violence 27
Rejected engagement 6
Criminal cases 16
False passports 3
Zena (adultery) 10
Social problems 3
Forced marriage 2
Child protection 1
Mental problem 1
Accused of Murder 1
Bride price 2
Accused of theft 1
Objective 2: Life enhancement of shelter residents—adults and children—throughspecial services such as literacy classes, life skills classes, vocationaltraining, and kindergarten for youngchildren.
Progress towards achieving Objective 2 .
Women for Afghan Women provides educational
opportunities to shelter residents. Obviously, the progress women/girls canmake in these classes depends on their length of stay in the shelter, which canrange from a few weeks to 2 years (and occasionally longer).
Objective 3: Strengthening the capacity of public, privateand civil society bodies to exercisesocial protection for Afghan women/girls at risk by advocating for sheltersbefore international donors, the GoA, local communities, schools/universities.
When the FGC/shelter first opened in Kabul in
2007, we received a few clients each month. That number slowly increased overthe next few years, until recently, when it exploded. Last month, the WAW FGC received 81 new cases.
We believe this surge is the result Not of an increase in violence against women, which has been a permanentfactor of Afghan culture, but of the information WAW community trainers aredisseminating about women’s human rights and WAW services. We also believeWAW’s reputation for competence and honesty has helped overcome communityresistance to NGOs. The desire ofwomen—and families—for justice is finally trumping that resistance.
We incorporate community and religious leaders into the reconciliation efforts of individual clients whenever possible.
WAW also works assiduously to strengthen public, private, and civil society bodies through awareness-raising programs, media coverage, and collaborative endeavors with other NGOs, ministries, andinternational donors.
During the past 12 months, WAW staff held training sessions at 27 schools and 41 clinics and hospitals. Sessions, which lasted from ½ hour to over an hour, focused on women’s human rights in Islam and Afghan civil law—such as the fact that forced and underage marriages are illegal in both. Trainers also talkabout WAW services and locations of WAW facilities and hand out calendars andcards printed with contact information.
These endeavors have taught us that awareness-raising works to inform and empower women to refuse further abuse. As a result we are committed to expanding our awareness-raising activities,. Reaching out to ordinary citizens and leaders helps establish respect for our work. They now refer women to us directly.
Objective 4: Support Afghanistan’s reporting to national and international bodies asto progress on related MDG targets and the situation of women/girls at risk.
Upon request, WAW’s database will provide the GoA, media, human rights organizations, schools, etc. documented and costed strategies for family/social reintegration for women and children. Data for allcases are compiled according to province, specific services, case numbers and types, client age,geographical distribution, issues, and outcomes, etc.
Challenges and suggested solutions:
Although we have not completely solved this problem, we have we hired a male caseworker,who can accompany female caseworkers during some follow up visits
Monitoring during reporting period.
The tools consist of 4 questionnaires that cover performance of caseworkers, lawyers, databaseoperators and the facility itself.
Deviations from work plan. Deviations from the work plan or TOR and reasons for them must be agreed upon in advance by the Embassy in writing by a letter or email correspondence.)
No deviations have occurred.
Description of the procurement of persons/services or goods or works.
Coordination and cooperation with other organizations; is there any otherorganization that works in the same sector/areas you are implementing theproject in?
What steps have you taken this quarter to consult community members (community shuras, elders,religious leaders etc.) for getting support for the project and how were their reactions?
WAW has two community trainers on staff. Although they are not directly included in the shelter grant, they arekey to the success of the program.
During the past 12 months, WAW staff held training sessions at 27 schools and 41 clinics and hospitals. Sessions, which lasted from ½ hour to over an hour, focused on women’s human rights in Islam and Afghan civil law—such as the fact that forced and underage marriages are illegal in both. Trainers also talk about WAW services and locations of WAW facilities and hand out calendars and cards printed with contact information.
Special issues to be tackled in the future and why are they important?
WAW has now opened 2 halfway houses for women transitioning from shelters. A strong program helps them develop the resources they need to live independent lives. Once they are able to support themselves, to read and write and handle money, we will take the final step: setting up communal living arrangements for them and their children.
Share a success story with evidence (photo, letter, etc) (e.g. a beneficiarysharing with you how the project has changed her life, or a communitydevelopment council/committee presenting you appreciation letter, or how youwere able to attract a community contribution in the implementation of theproject, etc)
Maryam’s stepfather sold her to a blind cleric when she was about 10 years old. After the cleric married her, he and his family became abusive. Maryam tolerated the abuse for several years, but she finally ran away. She was picked up and referred to an international human rights NGO that assigned a lawyer to her case and sued for divorce. The suit rested on strong legal grounds: she had been sold; she had been forced into a marriage; she had been underage.
That lawyer was on the take, as was thecourt. The cleric bribed them to deny the divorce and return Maryam to him andhis family. Although they signed a document agreeing to stop the physical andmental abuse, the violence started up as soon as Maryam returned to theirhouse.
Some time later, Maryam ran away again. This time she reached the WAW FGC and shelter. WAW again sued for divorce. The case dragged along for several years because the cleric fought to retain possession of his “wife”, who was still legally underage. Finally the court decided that if Maryam could pay him $1500, she would receive her divorce. Could bribery have motivated this decision? Maryam had no money. She had been living in the WAW shelter for about 4 years. WAW appealed this decision.
Again the cleric resisted, but this time the court awarded her a divorce. The entire process had taken 9 years ofMaryam’s life—from the time she was sold to the final award.
Maryam remained in the shelter after receiving her divorce. Where else could she have gone? In the shelter, the guard thought she might be a suitable wife for his son. He talked to the FGC manager, who met the son and approved of him. The next step was to introduce him to Maryam. Finally, just a week ago, they were married. The shelter, where Maryam had spent many years of her life, held a big celebration for her.
Overall Objective – To improve prospects for women, girls and children by using the period they spend in the shelter (from a few weeks to 2 years) productively. This entails offering educational opportunities, life skills training, instruction on their human rights, vocational training and other services that provide physical, intellectual and mental stimulation and advancement.
Progress towards achieving the overall objective .
Overview of Case Figures:
From June 1, 2011 through November 30, 2011, the Kabul FGC and shelter registered 229 new cases, of which 165 were adult females, 63 were underage females, and 1 was an adult male.
WAW’s caseworkers solved 255 cases, of which 65 were solved through legal means in three courts. Sixty-nine cases are currently in follow up; 53 cases remain open.
Objective 1: Enhanced access for women/girls-at-risk to safe living quarters, protective services such as professional legal assistance and social inclusion (re-integration into family and/or society) when feasible.
Progress towards achieving our Objective
Objective 2: Life enhancement of shelter residents—adults and children—through special services such as literacy classes, life skills classes, vocational training, and kindergarten for young children.
Women for Afghan Women provides educational opportunities to shelter residents. The majority of our clients have never been to school and are illiterate. During the reporting period, 39% of the clients were illiterate; 12 % could write only their names.
Life Skills Classes: Life skills classes focus on health and hygiene, family relationships, civic education, conflict resolution, and childcare. While living at the shelter, the women also participate in group therapy, role-playing, and therapeudic picture methods. These strategies give women knowledge and skills to assist their reintegration into family and community.
Objective 3: Strengthening the capacity of public, private and civil society bodies to exercise social protection for Afghan women/girls at risk by advocating for shelters before international donors, the GoA, local communities, schools/universities.
As a women’s NGO in a deeply patriarchal culture, we have had, and still have, many attitudinal barriers to overcome. From the outset, we have taken steps to change those attitudes.
WAW has worked to strengthen public, private, and civil society bodies through awareness- raising programs, media coverage, meetings with mullahs and perpetrators as part of the resolution process, and collaborative endeavors with other NGOs, ministries, and international donors.
These endeavors have taught us that awareness-raising accompanied by solutions works to inform and empower women to refuse further abuse. We discovered that both men and women are eager to learn about human rights and take action to protect them. We also concluded that advising women in a community about our services has a major impact on the number of women and girls who come to our facilities for help.
As a result we are committed to expanding our awareness-raising activities,. Reaching out to ordinary citizens and leaders helps establish respect for our work. We anticipate that many of them will become solid partners and will refer women to our facilities. Some may get involved in our counseling services. These projects provide much needed information on women’s rights and may even motivate communities to take steps toward protecting women’s rights by supporting our shelters in the face of government opposition.
We also endeavor to improve our already cooperative relations and partnerships with local police, ministries, law enforcement officials including local Attorney General’s staff, prosecutors, religious leaders, shura leaders and members, and other NGOs with related mandates and activities.
Objective 4: Support Afghanistan’s reporting to national and international bodies as to progress on related MDG targets and the situation of women/girls at risk.
Upon request, WAW’s database will provide the GoA, media, human rights organizations, schools, etc. documented and costed strategies for family/social reintegration for women and children. Data for all cases are compiled according to province, specific services, case numbers and types, client age, geographical distribution, issues, and outcomes, etc.
Challenges and suggested solutions
Although we have not completely solved this problem, we have we hired a male case worker who can accompany female caseworkers during some follow up visits.
Monitoring during reporting period.
The tools consist of 4 questionnaires that cover performance of caseworkers, lawyers, database operators and the facility itself.
caseworker’s treatment of client.
Coordination and cooperation with other organizations; is there any other organization that works in the same sector/areas you are implementing the project in?
What steps have you taken this quarter to consult community members (community shuras, elders, religious leaders etc.) for getting support for the project and how were their reactions?
Special issues to be tackled in the future and why are they important? It is important that we develop a strategy for dealing with media attacks. We are working on this problem with other equally vulnerable women’s rights NGOs. It is necessary to convey to the public what a shelter is, what it can contribute to a community, and why it is important.
Share a success story with evidence (photo, letter, etc) (e.g. a beneficiary sharing with you how the project has changed her life, or a community development council/committee presenting you appreciation letter, or how you were able to attract a community contribution in the implementation of the project, etc)
Nahida: 15 years old.
When Nadia was 12 years old, her father developed mental problems, and he and her mother began fighting. Finally, during one battle her father murdered her mother. He then sent Nadia and her sister to their uncle’s house. After a few days she learned that her father had taken her two brothers and run away.
Nahida and her sister lived with her uncle, who forced her into a marriage when she was 13 despite her strong objections. But she obeyed him when he told her that if she did not obey, she would have to leave his house. After the marriage her husband and mother-in-law beat her constantly. Unable to endure the oppression, she went to Family Court, which sent her to the WAW FGC.
Noria: 26 yrs old.
Noria is uneducated. Six years ago, with her agreement, her uncle engaged her to Ayatulah, whom she married three months later. Six months after her marriage, she found out that her husband was already married and had two children with his first wife. She did not take any action over this but continued her happy married life. She has two children, a son and a daughter. After four years, her husband married another woman with the agreement of both Noria and his first wife. He treated both wives equally, giving them the same financial support. But the third wife ruined her life. She didn’t let her husband talk to Noria or love her. Her husband made excuses, even attacked Nadia physically. Finally his violence drove to the police, who brought her to WAW. After a few counseling sessions, the client insisted that she would reconcile with her husband only if he gave her independence from his other wives. Her husband agreed, and his third wife regretted her behavior. They are now happy and grateful to WAW. The case is in follow-up.
Maryam: 17 years old
When Maryam was 7 years old, her father married her off. After a while, her in-laws and husband physically and mentally tortured her. Over time their violence increased. Her husband beat her, starved her, wouldn’t give her clothes to wear, and didn’t let her visit her relatives, even her father. She was their servant. When Maryam complained to her father, her husband beat her.
After a year she ran away to her father’s house. But he sent her back to her in-laws without even inquiring about her problems. After two years her husband married a second wife and the violence increased. She tolerated it because her father told her that if she ran away again, her husband would kill her.
When Marayam was 13 years old, she gave birth to a baby girl, but her husband, his second wife, and her in-laws still beat her. Finally one day she ran away to the police station and complained about her husband.
When her husband found out, he went to Pakistan. The police sent Maryam to the WAW shelter, where a WAW’s counselor held mediation sessions with her and her father. After many sessions, her father realized that he made mistakes and took Maryam to his house. The case is now in follow-up, and Maryam is very happy.
Liada: 18 years old.
When Liada was 5 years old and her sister was 9 months, her father died and her mother married his brother. She and her sister lived with their mother and stepfather. When she was 14, she got married and had a daughter. She and her husband were happy until after one year her uncle interfered with their married life. He decided he was opposed to the marriage and forced her to divorce her husband. He then sold her daughter and forced Liada to marry another man. After 6 months, her husband and in-laws beat her with a hammer. When she ran away to her uncle and told him about the treatment, her uncle blamed her.
When Liada saw that her husband and uncle were no good, she ran to the police station. They sent her to WAW’s Kabul FGC. Liada is one of our clients whom the police sent to us for protection.
Organisation: Afghanistan – Women for Afghan Women
Project title: Family Guidance Center – Kabul Province
Reporting period: March 1, 2011 – May 31, 2011
WAW’s Family Guidance Centers and shelter provides relief to victims of domestic violence and other forms of human right violations. The violations women in Afghanistan suffer include domestic violence, rape and other sexual abuses, such as trafficking, underage and forced marriage, the exchange of female children as payment for a crime (the custom baad), and threats of honor killings. On a daily basis, the FGC helps women seeking a divorce when there is no alternative to violence, women and girls facing prison sentences for running away from abusive situations, and girls as young as 9-years old who have been sold as brides to men of all ages.
Women may arrive there after fleeing to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), hospitals, police departments or the FGC itself. WAW staff evaluates each case in its own unique context. In all cases, women are provided with counseling and mediation to ensure the successful resolution of family conflict and reintegration into society. Women living in families that are deemed untreatable or in situations that defy remediation will stay in our secure shelter until WAW mediators facilitate their reintegration with their marital or birth families or work out another solution. During that time, they receive literacy training, life skills training, counseling, legal services or other services as may be necessary to alleviate her situation.
As for children accompanying their mothers, WAW provides medical attention as needed and places them in our kindergarten.
Before a woman can return to her home, if that proves possible and in keeping with her human rights, the family must agree in writing to permit follow-ups, unannounced visits for a minimum of one year. This step is essential in a culture where “honor” killings of women who bring shame on the family are common and go virtually unpunished.
WAW has a high success rate in resolution of cases in the shelter for many reasons. Whenever possible, WAW involves the perpetrators of crimes in these efforts, and religious leaders are often included in family discussions. The news of WAW’s FGC has spread to relatives, neighbors, communities, and government agencies. Our work influences far more people than just our immediate clients. This is evident in the increasing number of women seeking WAW’s services on their own (as opposed to being referred by other agencies). Since 2007 to present, WAW has registered a total of 2,814 cases across the country.
*WAW's full report for the period of March - May 2011 is attached.
Story of a Survivor of Violence~ "Kamar was married to a disable man (with one leg), who forced her to beg during their entire 20 year marriage in Pakistan, Jalalabad, and Kabul. He never worked and she was the breadwinner. Four years ago, he married a second wife, who had 4 children of her own. The couple then had 4 children together. Kamar herself is childless. The husband beat her with wooden implements so severely that her back and hips are badly scarred. Our lawyers got her a divorce despite the husband’s strong objections. Kamar is now living with her brother and is very happy."
Stories like this can break your heart – especially given the current crisis facing women shelters in Afghanistan. But the staff members at Women for Afghan Women (WAW) come across them every day. WAW has enabled hundreds of women in the US and Afghanistan to reclaim their “VOICES”, dignity, respect, and rights to be effective members of their society.
WAW is a grassroots civil society organization dedicated to securing and protecting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls, particularly their rights to develop their individual potential, to self-determination, and to be represented in all areas of life: political, social, cultural and economic. We advocate for women’s rights and challenge the norms that underpin gender-based violence wherever opportunities arise in order to influence attitudes and bring about change.
WAW is committed to the leadership and agency of Afghan women in the struggle for their human rights. WAW's work takes place within the religious and cultural context of the women of Afghanistan.
WAW operates Family Guidance Centers (FGCs) which shelter, protect and promote the human rights of Afghan women and children in Kabul, Mazar, Kapisa, Jalalabad and Kunduz. Since 2007, WAW’s FGCs have helped approximately 2,500 women, girls, and/or families in crisis. The demand for these centers and the services it provides are profound.
Personal note to the donor who has contributed to your project
Our overall success is due in part to our extraordinary vision and determination as well as the commitment of our supporters. As a supporter of WAW your contribution has impacted the lives of hundreds of women, young girls and families. Your generous donation and support has been instrumental in transforming the lives of our clients, and we want to thank you. With your support we have been able to maintain the Family Guidance Center and shelter services.
Our work in Afghanistan continues to thrive. After only three and a half years, the original Family Guidance Center/shelter (FGC) in Kabul has expanded to four other locations: Kapisa, Mazar, Kunduz, and Jalalabad, and we are planning to open three more in the next two years. These centers have helped about 2500 women and girls. When we include their families, the number of beneficiaries comes to well over 7000 people. Husbands and fathers often participate in counseling with wives and daughters. We currently have 32 women and 8 children living in the Kabul shelter, where we run a kindergarten and hold literacy, life skills, and vocational training classes for women.
Our newest project is the Children’s Support Center, a residence for the children over five years old who had been living with their mothers in the Kabul women's prison. Since most children who come to us are illiterate, the CSC starts them on an accelerated learning program until they can enter school. We also have classes in English and computer skills and tutoring for kids who are having trouble keeping up with school assignments. In her NY Times article on Afghan women (Oct. 24, 2010), Elizabeth Rubin wrote of the CSC, “I’d never seen such a beautiful, clean institution in Afghanistan.” We will open two additional CSCs in the coming year.
These accomplishments would not be possible without out the generosity of our supporters. For your loyalty and generosity, we and the women and girls of Afghanistan express heartfelt gratitude.
*Attached please find WAW's most recent project report covering the period of December 1, 2010 to February 28, 2011. The report includes charts, photos, and case profiles.
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