Bayan II: Inclusive governance and improved security through influencing (December 2014 – December 2016, Kabul, The Hague, Brussels, New York)

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:

  • A series of impactful stories concerning gender equality and inclusion have aired on Afghan radio and television networks. Similarly, through Bayan II, a family day was organized in Kabul to highlight the importance of gender equality at home and to promote the role of family in raising awareness about the rights of women and girls.
  • A Leadership Training Programme, focused on bettering the qualifications of female politicians, has been created to maximize the effective participation of women as more qualified political nominees. This programme will continue to train more women, in order to contribute to more effective gender policies, foster a more inclusive atmosphere for women to join the political sphere and demonstrate that women can, will and are already making an impact on the political sphere.
  • Additionally, in connection with Bayan II, esteemed guests from partner organisations in Afghanistan were invited to The Hague and Brussels to share their own individual messages about how to best affect gender-related change and promote inclusion in Afghanistan. They presented their messages to the Dutch government, the European Parliament (EP), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Khaberi Kawen (June 2013 - July 2014, Kabul)

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.

Bayan I (pilot phase, November 2013, Kabul; June 2013, New York)

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.

Rehbar “Leader” Programme (Kabul, Herat, Jalalabad and Kunduz 2012)

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.

Flowers for Peace (The Hague 26 April, 2010)

The Flowers for Peace Campaign was launched at the garden of the Peace Palace to support the Afghan Women’s initiative to participate in Peace (Jirga), in order to ensure that women’s rights were not compromised in the (then) upcoming International Conference in Kabul. The campaign was initiated by Gender Concerns International and was launched both by Dieny Scheffer, Chairperson of the Dutch Women’s Council (Nederlandse Vrouwenraad) and Sylvia Borren, Co-chair of World Connectors and co-chair of Global Call to Action against Poverty.

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.”

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