AWSDC has been working for the last seven years focusing women’s role in community peace building and women’s religious and cultural rights in Parwan. As a result of close interaction and good rapport with the partner communities Parwan was selected for implementation of this particular project which was based on the felt and identified needs of the partner communities.
Keeping in view these ground realities AWSDC developed and implemented a pilot project in five districts of Parwan province. The project aimed to raise awareness of the selected entities of the partner communities including religious clergy, community elders, women activists, law enforcement agencies (judiciary, police and prosecutors) and Directorate of Women’s Affairs.
The project commenced with the rounds of consultation with Department of Women’ Affairs and the office of the Governor in order to get official authorization for AWSDC team to implement the project. The local authorities welcomed the project while the community elders were not adequately supportive at the beginning of the workshops and meetings.
Meetings were held and workshops were conducted entirely focused on the importance of law enforcement agencies and their responsiveness to the justice needs of the communities in general and women’s access to justice in particular.
Like other parts of Afghanistan police in Parwan also mostly focuses to control terrorism and less attention is given to law enforcement which is their main role. But initiation of this project gave an opportunity to police to learn about specific human rights laws as well as an opening for people to learn about the laws, particularly the importance to trusting police and other law enforcement agencies and created a platform of dialogue and follow up with these agencies. Following every workshop in two districts, AWSDC was able to create Advocacy Committees with the active participation of the community members who want to follow up their issues with the law enforcement agencies and those who want to be connected with their local authorities to ensure access to justice for women and all.
In response to the above mentioned issue, AWSDC team conducted nine workshops followed by formation of committees at the district level. The aim of the formation of the committees was to organize a group of the stakeholders for follow up of the project activities with particular reference of the responses to protection of Women’s Human Rights in the courts and law enforcement agencies in their respective realms.
As per the project plan, meetings took place with the newly established committees. The committees were also facilitated to meet with different government agencies that include Provincial Attorney General’s office, the court, the education and media directorates and the Women’s Affairs Department .These committees were able to share their concerns and perspectives with the law enforcement agencies and initiated the dialogue to continue the mutual cooperation for creation of an enabling environment for the communities to have access to justice.
Programs were designed for the local TV and radio which included;
Messages were also printed on stickers and billboards to create awareness on human rights laws and also encouraged the partner communities to make the law enforcement agencies accountable through cooperation.
Although the project duration is completed by September 2012, AWSDC team in Parwan will continue supporting the Advocacy Committees and their outreach to the local government authorities for women’s access to justice and ensuring rule of law in Parwan province, specifically in Salang district.