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 training
and other services that promote psychological well-being and provide physical
and intellectual stimulation and advancement.
Progress towards achieving the overall objective:
2008– April 30, 2012, the Kabul FGC/shelter registered 2220
cases . Of these cases:
Cases in follow-up 202
Cases referred to other FGCs and
Legal cases 854
Counseling/mediation cases 1351
Female clients 1471
Male clients 27
Underage clients 722
accompanying mothers to shelter: 603
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
achieving Objective 1
two-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 Kabul
FGC shelter 856
mothers in shelter 143
in shelter 41
Children currently in shelter 14
Police stations 303
Criminal office (MoI) 100
WAW offices 47
Attorney 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 for
one 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 the
first place. These visits comply with the contractual agreement each families
signs before the client returns home. Follow-ups remain a challenge for WAW
staff (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 raped
or 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 clients
who have been raped—including underage clients—of having engaged in consensual
sex. Behind the misogyny is corruption: men
in Afghanistan can rape and prostitute women/girls with impunity by bribing
prosecutors and judges. Nothing is ever
done about it. In rare cases, when evidence
is overwhelming, men are actually convicted and sentenced. Then they bribe
their 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
Life enhancement of shelter residents—adults and children—through
special services such as literacy classes,
life skills classes, vocational
training, and kindergarten for young
Progress towards achieving Objective 2 .
Women for Afghan Women provides educational
opportunities to shelter residents. Obviously, the progress women/girls can
make in these classes depends on their length of stay in the shelter, which can
range from a few weeks to 2 years (and occasionally longer).
- Life Skills Classes: Life skills
classes focus on health and hygiene, family relationships, conflict resolution, childcare, civil law. 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.
- Clients in the shelter take
life skills classes 5 days a week
for 1.5 hours per day.
classes: Literacy classes run five days a week. In addition to reading and writing Dari, literacy classes
include basic arithmetic (counting, adding, subtracting, identifying sums
- The Dari class runs for 2 hours. Clients learned to write their own names, names of and
their family and friends, and simple words. They were also able to read a
- Islamic Studies includes the 5 pillars of Islam,
methods of praying (which women are not taught in Afghanistan, probably
because their families have not been taught), and the rights of the wife
- Computer class runs 3 days a week for 2 hours.
Clients who are literate attend. They learn the name and function
of computer parts, Notepad, and
basic Word functions.
kindergarten : All children living with their mothers in the shelter
can attend the FGC kindergarten, where they learn to
read and write the letters of the alphabet and to count, name colors and shapes, and other
subjects appropriate to their age.
Our experienced teacher, who is trained in early
childhood development, and an assistant (who is also a client
in the shelter) work on the children’s social and communication skills. Children
who are at the shelter for long periods are, of course, more advanced than
those who stay briefly.
Training: Shelter clients
receive vocational training 5 days per week in tailoring, crocheting,
cooking and basic jewelry making. Since our jewelry trainer left
Afghanistan, we have been unable to find a competent replacement. We are in the process of discussing a
partnership with the founder and president of a U.S. NGO, Global Goods
Partners. She and her jewelry designer are helping us develop this program
by designing attractive jewelry that will sell in the international
market. The program is valuable because it will enable women to earn a
living once they develop professional
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.
When the FGC/shelter first opened in Kabul in
2007, we received a few clients each month. That number slowly increased over
the 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 permanent
factor of Afghan culture, but of the information WAW community trainers are
disseminating about women’s human rights and WAW services. We also believe
WAW’s reputation for competence and honesty has helped overcome community
resistance to NGOs. The desire of
women—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, and
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.
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.
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:
- Following up cases after a solution that the family accepts has been reached remains a major
challenge. Two problems prevent our staff from fulfilling this commitment in
- Security: some clients move to districts or provinces that are not safe for our staff to
- Conservative families do not allow case workers to follow-up their case although they signed
an agreement that they would comply .
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
- Local media,specifically Noorin TV, have attacked the shelters, claiming they are actually brothels. A shelter association has been formed that now has 5 members: WAW, VoA, HAWCA, ASDA, MoWA. We believe other stakeholders will join. On the basis of strength in numbers, this association it will have greater leverage to counter these attacks than a lone
- A third challenge is the resistance of courts (prosecutors and judges) to prosecute and sentence
perpetrators of crimes against women. The cause is their vulnerability to
bribes. This massive problem, which paralyzes the rule of law throughout the
country, has not yielded to a decade of training or pressure from international
donors. WAW has some success in prosecuting offenders because we work on a
case-by-case basis. Our many years of experience good relationshops with AG
office, some judges.
Monitoring during reporting period.
- Women for Afghan Women believes in quality control. The activities of the shelter are consistently monitored by the Kabul FGC supervisor, by WAW program officers, and by the organization’s Education Coordinator.
- We have developed our own M&E tools, which have been applied to the Kabul office. As a result of responses to these forms, an action plan was developed to improve specific areas of our program.
The tools consist of 4 questionnaires that cover performance of caseworkers, lawyers, database
operators and the facility itself.
- Caseworker evaluation checks on 25
areas in three categories: caseworker handling of client files; observation of
caseworker communication skills, physical appearance, etc.; caseworker’s treatment of client.
- Evaluation sheet for WAW lawyers covers lawyer’s files, lawyer’s relations with clients, lawyer’s performance at trial.
- Evaluation of WAW Administration and Human Resource
departments: physical condition of offices, treatment of visitors to office, extent to which all organization and staff files are up to date.
- Checklist of information in database to ascertain whether database information concurs with caseworker files.
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 other
organization that works in the same sector/areas you are implementing the
- WAW is a member of the Afghan Women’s Network. We
coordinate all our advocacy efforts with this women’s umbrella agency.
- WAW works in partnership with Medica Afghanistan, with whom we developed our advocacy
- WAW is a member of the coordination committee in MoWA. We attend all monthly meetings to
discuss shelter issues.
- The shelter association is another such example of coordination and cooperation. See
Challenges and Suggested Solutions above.
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?
- 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.
- One serious issue WAW faces is that single women in Afghanistan cannot live alone. A
woman who has divorced her husband and who has no birth family to return to (her
parents are dead, they do not want her, they will kill her for shaming the
family)—that woman has very few options. They consist of a second marriage,
which is problematic for a divorced woman, a life in a shelter, which is highly
unsatisfactory even if it could be arranged, a life on the streets. The shelter
cannot be a dead end for tens of thousands of women.
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 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
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 the
court. The cleric bribed them to deny the divorce and return Maryam to him and
his family. Although they signed a document agreeing to stop the physical and
mental abuse, the violence started up as soon as Maryam returned to their
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 of
Maryam’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.