In 2014, Gender Concerns International together with two Dutch non-profit international development organisations (INGOs), seven Afghan women organisations (WO), and numerous Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) followed up on the earlier Bayan pilot.
The Bayan II programme was launched to foster national influencing on women’s right with a broader audience to increase public support for inclusive security, inclusive peace building and political participation. The programme consists of capacity building sessions for the partners to target participants in order to promote women’s rights, as well as various high-level meetings and events to bring political attention to the existing situation and proposals to implement them.
These include official bodies at the central level in Kabul, social and governmental institutions across all levels of Afghan society and various CSOs. On the international level, the advocacy charges are led by bodies in The Hague, Brussels, and the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York. The programme also includes capacity building interventions with local partners and aims to engage participants in the call to promote women’s rights in accordance with the Dutch National Action Plan (NAP1325) and the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325).
The Bayan II initiative has, thus far, already begun to effect change through multiple programmes and events, including:
In addition to public appearances on radio programmes and public events such as in press and video conferences, capacity building workshops on the topics of online and radio communication were held for Afghan women. The Khaberi Kawen programme was implemented by Gender Concerns International and its partner organisation, the WHMO. The programme, in part sponsored by the embassy of the United States in Kabul, aimed to develop the skills of female MPs, in order to enhance their political campaigns through the utilization of new media and sustainable platforms and to effectively communicate and network with the press, their peers and the public.
In 2013, Gender Concerns International built effective partnerships between Dutch NGOs, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Afghan civil society organisations, in order to promote and enhance public support for human rights, peace building and female leadership. One of the programme’s main objectives has been to boost both the number and quality of female candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Gender Concerns International’s local partner, the WHMO, specialized in targeting the youth via radio programs whilst simultaneously focusing on journalist groups and parliamentarians to promote the objectives of the Bayan programme. The second local partner, DSAWCO, specialized in targeting University students, high school students and working youth to partake in activist initiatives. Both partner organisations have utilized theatre shows, school workshops, social media platforms, surveys, radio broadcasts, text message discussions and television broadcasts as tools to support the implementation of the joint objectives of Bayan.
The 2012 “Rehbar” programme have as its focus the strengthening and enhancement of the effectiveness of the female leadership cadre from women’s organisations and civil society organisations at the parliamentary level. Support for women in positions of power is a condition for the improvement of the overall political, economic, social and legal position of women in Afghanistan.
By emphasizing capacity building, promoting interaction and increasing lobbying and advocacy efforts, the programme aims to equip Afghan female leaders with the tools necessary to effectively deliver change towards gender equity. The Rehbar programme is carried out by Gender Concerns International in partnership with Afghan Women Network and was supported by the EU.
During her opening speech Ms. Bano stated : “In times like these when Afghan society is approaching its reconciliation consensus, it is highly important that international supporters of Afghan women rights should galvanize their energies and efforts to voice the voices of women in Afghanistan.”