Promote role of EVAW Commissions in addressing Sexual Harassment

Donor: Open Society Afghanistan (OSA)

Executive summary:

The project will contribute in addressing sexual harassment against women through empowering the EVAW provincial Commissions in provinces of Kabul, Balkh, Kandahar, Herat, Bamyan and Nangarhar. Inclusion of Kabul is only for its role as national EVAW Commission which needs to be involved in ensuring the impact of the project. Sexual harassment is one of the savior forms of violence against women and a type of gender discrimination in Afghanistan that limits women’s ability to participate in socio economic development of the country. The Project is basically proposing to support capacity assessment of the EVAW Commissions in selected provinces in accordance to the quality of responses the Commissions provides to sexual harassment cases. Besides, the project will also provide the members with required skills and capacity for providing effective responses. Objective of the project is to promote the role of EVAW Commissions in addressing sexual harassment against women. The project has three main outputs: 1) conducting a capacity assessment of the EVAW Commissions in selected number of provinces and identify the best practices and challenges with regard to its response to sexual harassment cases; 2) provide training and capacity building support to improve the capacity of EVAW Commissions in this regard and 3) advocate for improving the role of EVAW Commissions in providing better services to victims of sexual harassment. As result, the project will have better understanding of the roles and capacity of EVAW Commissions in regard to sexual harassment against women, build capacity of Commission based on their needs which can contribute in decrease sexual harassment cases against women and girls in selected provinces. Meanwhile, by using the findings of the capacity assessment WCLRF will also be able to advocate for improving the role of the commissions through provision of recommendations for possible revision of the terms of references of the EVAW Commissions.

Every Voice Count (EVC)

Women and Children Legal Research Foundation (WCLRF) is implementing the Every Voice Count (EVC) program with financial support from CARE international in Khulm and Charkent districts of Balkh province from 2016 to 2020. The ultimate objective of the Every Voice Counts (EVC) is to increase inclusion and meaningful participation of women and girls in decision-making processes by the year 2020. The Theory of Change (ToC) of the EVC program focuses on four domains:

Empowerment of excluded groups,
Strengthening the advocacy role of civil society,
Responsive public authorities and other power holders.
Create sound space for dialogue.

Conference on disseminating the Findings of the Report on Role of EVAW Commissions in addressing Sexual Harassment in Afghanistan

To improve the EVAW commissions’ role in tackling sexual harassment and to share the research findings, WCLRF held a provincial conference in Herat province on December 16, 2017. In this conference, the EVAW commission members including governor deputy, head of DoWA, Balkh Provincial Council, CSOs and media had participated. Thanking the participants and sharing WCLRF’s major achievements in regard with tackling sexual harassment, Mr. Zabihullah Jawad, WCLRF’s legal advisor, shared the research report’s findings and its recommendations.

During the panel discussions, Mrs. Monisa Hassanzada, the governor deputy, Mrs. Aziza Karimi, head of DoWA, head of department of Justice, Mr. Rahimi, head of AIHRC’s sub-office, head of Haj and Awqaf and Mr. Pedram, a member of provincial council expressed their strong support and committing in tackling sexual harassment and implementing the findings and recommendations of the research report. “I really appreciate the efforts made by WCLRF in conjuction with sexual harassment, especially their effective in drafting the Ant-harassment regulation and cooperation with Parliament in finalizing the Anti-Harassment against Women and  Children Law,” said Mrs. Hassan Zada. She also added that in order to effectively fight against sexual harassment, a strong working group including families, governmental and non-governmental organizations must be established and oral commitments must be put in action.

The panelists in addition to affirming the research’s findings, expressed their support and commitment in creating a violence-free environment both in families and communities for women and girls. The event followed by question and answer session and concluding speeches by the panelists.

8th Women’s advocacy Committee meeting with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

The Women’s Advocacy Committee held its eighth advocacy meeting with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the National Unity Government, on Assad 23 rd , 1397, to continuation of its advocacy meetings. During this meeting, in addition to following up the implemented issues, the below matters were discussed:
1. Restrictions on resources for institutions working in line with women’s rights.
2. The problems of female candidates in parliamentary elections 1397,
3. The consequences of peace and cease-fire with the Taliban.
Regarding the problems of female candidates in the 1397 parliamentary elections, Dr. Abdullah in addition to emphasizing the past commitments, and said that the government is required to contextualization of women’s active participation in all sectors of the system. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah spoke about the consequences of the ceasefire with the Taliban in details. Finally, after addressing the resource constraints for women’s rights organizations, he said: After identifying the problems and challenges, they will talk with national and international organizations in this regard”.

67th Balkh Provincial EVAW commission’s meeting

On Tuesday July 31, 2018 (according to Asad 9th, 1397) the 67th Provincial EVAW commission meeting was held in Balkh, under the chairmanship of Mr. Alhaj Mohammad Bashir Tawhidi the deputy of Balkh’s Governor and was facilitated by WCLRF’s legal adviser. In addition to following up the previous meeting’s decisions, report on women’s situation of Dehdadi district, Justice directorate’s function on decreasing violence against women and statistics of violence against women were presented. In order to address the precise needs and responsiveness of the authorities in preventing and reducing violence against women, applied decisions were adopted at this meeting and responsibilities and follow-up actions were set up for each member of the commission until the next commission meeting.

64th report of Parwan Provincial EVAW commission

By the facilitation of WCLRF’s legal adviser, the 64th Parwan Provincial EVAW commission meeting was held on 29th July, 2018 (according to 7th Asad 1397) with the presence of 20 persons, under the chairmanship of Provincial governor, General Fazil udin Ayyar in the DoWA’s office. During the meeting, following up on the decision of the past sessions, the report on the activities of the agencies about fighting violence against women, how to conduct the meetings of Elimination of the Persecution of Women and Children’s Commission and merging that with the meetings of EVAW commission according to MoWA’s instruction, conducting public awareness sessions in universities for the Law and Sharia’s students, were discussed and effective decisions were made to optimize the process of handling cases of violence against women and preventing increased violence against women and the responsibilities of the member offices were specified according to their working field.

Research Training on girls Education (Malala Fund)

Day one: Training has been started with introduction of field researches and participant of the training from six provinces ( Kabul, Kandahar, Parwan, Balkh, Nangerhar, and Bakhshan) province, which was shortly started by introduction of the program (Malala Fund) the partners who would be involved in this program and where we would conduct the research, importance of Education, Education strategy of Afghanistan and its millennium development goal has been highlighted. The training was focused on Research Methodology, Methods and techniques of data collection, Ethics of field researcher and attitudes toward approaching the target group.
On day two of the training: which mostly practical and screening of the questionnaires to further familiarise the researchers to the type of questions, and the focus groups in order to ease and to better facilitate to prevent any sort of confusions while doing in the field. Each of the participants played the role of field researcher and another correspondent by their term and three of the new candidates played the role of person who would conduct the Focus groups discussions. At the end of the two days training, everyone was briefed and responded to their questions regarding the set of questionnaires and as well as about selection of the target groups in the provinces. The team was assigned to do a pre-test before starting actual practice in the field so that further figure out any possible challenges in any points.

Research Report on Role of EVAW Commissions in addressing Sexual Harassment

Following the productive advocacy meeting with HPC’s Secretariat on Oct 8, WCLRF held the
Advocacy Committee’s coordination meeting at WCLRF’s main office on October 11, 2017. The
meeting intended to mainly focus on HPC’s commitments to increase women’s participation in
the peace process and the establishment of the Women's Advisory Board within HPC structure.
Considering HPC’s request to identify and share the list of 30 qualified women to be included in
the board, the committee members discussed the issue and developed the list accordingly. The
list is to be shared with HPC’s secretariat in the near future. The Women’s Advisory Board,
combining the First Lady’s Office, Presidential and CEO Advisers, the Ministry of Women's
Affairs, members of the National Assembly, the High Peace Council, and civil society will be
established within HPC structure to address women’s poor participation and to effectively
counteract the crises and challenges women face at local and national levels.

Advocacy meeting on 17th July, 2019

WCLRF organized its first meeting with the advocacy Group of Every Voice Count Project on 17th July, 2019.  The meeting was conducted at the main campus of WCLRF, and 18 participants from the implementing agencies of EVC have participated including Civil Society members who have active membership of advocacy Committees.

Throughout the meeting, the major activities of 2019 of EVC Program have been presented and explained to the meeting participants, and simultaneously, the meeting participants worked on plane for Advocacy Association, established a bilateral cooperation mechanism, and discussed the role of Advocacy Association in terms of exploring the objectives of EVC Programs in the targeted provinces.  The participants considered the role of Advocacy Association of EVC program as stepping stone to increase the meaningful participation of women at local level, and the participants have also demonstrated commitment to support the Advocacy activities at National and Local level whenever required.

 

In addition to the above discussions, discussing the capacity building session or the Advocacy Association was also the essential part of the meeting, and the date, time and venue for the next meeting was assigned and confirmed with the consultation of meeting participants.

Women Advocacy committee with executive director of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on 1/2/2020:

On 2nd February 2020, Women Advocacy Committee were held with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah chief executive of the unity government of the Islamic republic of Afghanistan.

In this meeting, the members of advocacy committee discussed about election process complain review, providing transparency in the electoral process, women active participation in peace process, female activists concern about increasing of violence against women in the country and as well as Citizens’ concerns about increased insecurity and robberies in Kabul.
The advocacy committee members called for elimination of frauds in the elections and announcement of transparent results in guaranteeing public confidence in the upcoming elections and the democratic process, and called on the Chief Executive to take decisive action in the electoral process.
As well as, advocacy team emphasized on active participation of women in peace process and prevention from increasing of violence against women and insecurities in capital and suggested that government should take important steps to solve this issues.
Chief executive of the unity government of the Islamic republic of Afghanistan replied to the questions and requests of advocacy committee group and said: (As people have seen and are better aware, we have made a serious effort to ensure transparency in the electoral process, and we have always said that we only want a transparent and free of fraud result).
In accordance to women active participation in peace process we have taken necessary actions to avoid violence against women, and constructive measures have also been taken. On the rise of insecurity in Kabul, he said (that war is the cause of insecurity, but security officials are given the necessary guidance every day and I am also heavily pursued).
“And as well we might create a committee in order to work on design of peace process and he said he will let some female members from advocacy group to contribute in peace process design”