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Center for Legal and Social Protection
In Afghanistan, violence against women is widespread and can range from deprivation of education to economic opportunities, through verbal and psychological violence, beating, sexual violence and killing. Many acts of violence involve traditional practices including the betrothal of young girls in infancy, early marriage and crimes of honor, where a female, is punished for having offended custom, tradition and traditions of honor.
Ongoing Activities on Legal and Social Protection
This program serves as a foundation to promote the respect of women human rights (right to selection of spouse. Economic/ inheritance rights) and thus will make a significant contribution to the societal reconstruction of the country. It offers support activities to tackle domestic violence emerging from forced marriages, by raising awareness on domestic violence up stream and by providing care to the victims, through counseling, developing violence prevention capacity of victims by provision of awareness, improve legal protection by provision of legal support to victims and follow up; attract social attention towards family violence and problems associated with it by establishing network of women activists , support group of spiritual elders, dissemination of research information on causes, consequences and prevention of violence and finally improve institutional response to family violence by. There is attention for developing practical tools and materials, and input for policy change and improved legislation.
WASSA provides women and men with;
1. Legal counseling
3. Awareness Campaign/ outreach
4. Networking/Joint advocacy
1. Counseling Unit
The counseling Unit provided professional social counseling and legal services for the women and men of Herat and Badghis province.
The counseling was offered in full confidentiality emotional support; Help towards making the right decision; and accurate medical and legal information; in particular cases referral of the girls and women to the professional doctors and specialists.
WASSA provides training on;
1. Women rights(right to education, health, social participation, marriage, economics and property/inheritance)
2. Domestic violence
3. Marriage/Forced marriage
4. Basic counseling
5. Problem solving
7. Violence/domestic violence
8. Conflict resolution skills
9. Convention on elimination of all sort of discrimination against women
10. Afghanistan constitution and women Place and other legal documents
11. MDG Goal no five on Gender and women empowerment in Afghanistan.
12. How to make and run a campaign, networking, information sharing and etc.
13. Leadership/management training
Outreach Activities (Awareness Campaign, Networking and Joint Advocacy):
Organized day to day visit to the districts and continued the awareness raising activities which involve quiz contest among youth, mobile group screening documentary/movie, organizing theater, football match (Men players and women and men viewers) Walk/Running competition on EVAW (Men), Best couple/family contest (Men/Women), Essay writing, Poetry competition, Painting & Debates contest.
MEHR publication: reflected the true stories of women concerning deprivation of their rights, media team gained different articles from women and men on different issues concerning violence against women. Child/forced marriages and women economic rights A group of women in each district were organized to meet each other biweekly in one of the houses and have an informal gathering where they reflect on the articles in MEHR and also had a specific study plan on issues related to women empowerment.
Women Legal and Social Protection Program is financially being supported by Christian Aid country office in Afghanistan for 3 years and will target two provinces of south-west in Afghanistan.
WASSA also established Legal Aid Clinic financially supported by Office of Rights & Democracy in Afghanistan. The legal aid clinic offers the following;
1. The clinic to provide both legal advice and service in access of women to justice in family law relevant.
2. All other cases should be handled through referral to relevant government and non government organization who has services available.
3. The clinic should help women in use of marriage contract.
How WASSA finds cases;
4. networking/referral system
5. survey by social worker
6. public awareness from LAC
7. strong relation with local/community and governmental departments
WASSA also conducted several research programs on Violence against women and produced a comprehensive research report entitled “silent voice” financially supported by Christian Aid country office in Afghanistan.
In order to read the details of findings during this research click here
WASSA also was part of Afghanistan Pilot Participatory Poverty Assessment APPPA implemented by ACBAR office in Afghanistan and funded by Asian Development Bank.
“A participatory poverty assessment (PPA) is an instrument for including the perspectives of the poor in the analysis of poverty and formulation of strategies to reduce it. Its purpose is to improve the effectiveness of actions aimed at poverty reduction. PPAs are generally carried out as policy research exercises, aimed at understanding poverty from the perspectives of poor people, and what their priorities are in terms of actions to improve their lives. PPAs can strengthen poverty assessment processes through: broadening stakeholder involvement and thereby increasing general support and legitimacy for anti-poverty strategies; enriching the analysis and understanding of poverty by including the perspectives of the poor; providing a diverse range of valuable information on a cost-effective, rapid and timely basis, and creating new relationships between policy-makers, service providers and people in poor communities.” (DFID, website, 2000 quoted from ‘An Introduction to Participatory Poverty Assessments’, 2000:1).
WASSA is a member of ‘’we can campaign’’ in western region of Afghanistan for training of change maker to eliminate all kinds of violence against women. WE CAN is a five year program which aims to eliminate violence against women. This program is being implemented in six south Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri lanka) for elimination of VAW.
WASSA initially started with 10 change makers for the dissemination of messages and after 3 years working in south-west zone in Afghanistan we have approximately 3000 individuals both men and women who are committed to step forward elimination of violence against women.
Center for legal and social empowerment in WASSA also protects children in specific those who are in conflict with law.
In post-conflict Afghanistan, structural poverty, the breakdown of family networks and the daily struggle for survival mean that many children are being denied access to basic education and health care, and have to work on the streets, where they sell low-value goods, carry out menial tasks, or are involved in petty crime. Indeed, UNICEF estimates that over a third of all children aged 5-14 years engage in child labour countrywide. On the streets, children are vulnerable to the risk of abuse and harassment from the police, drug dealers, people traffickers and sexual exploiters. Many of the children detained at Herat’s detention centres are street working children who have been accused of petty crimes and then imprisoned. Compounding this problem is Afghanistan’s burgeoning drugs trade. Herat is a strategic point in the trafficking of drugs from Afghanistan to Iran, meaning that local children are being increasingly drawn into the narco-economy, which leads them into further conflict with the law and, frequently, addiction. Girls who have been in conflict with the law are particularly vulnerable to recruitment into the sex trade, as most are rejected by their families on their release from prison.
WASSA with the assist of WAR CHILD UK in 2007 established a center to protect 120 children in conflict with law for 4 years. This initiative will develop practical services that will enable CICL and their families to access livelihoods and educational training, thus lifting them out of acute poverty and diverting them from dangerous and/or illegal income generation activities.
UNICEF in Herat also supports WASSA to provide literacy classes for 500 working children and street children. This initiative will develop practical services that will enable children working and street children and their families to access to educational training/literacy courses for one year.
Let’s ensure our societies are free of all sort of violence and discrimination