Strategies to empower Nangarhar women spotlighted in new TV programme

26 Aug 2018

Strategies to empower Nangarhar women spotlighted in new TV programme

JALALABAD - Participants in a UN-backed television programme broadcast in the eastern province of Nangarhar singled out education as the key to women’s empowerment at all levels of Afghanistan’s political and social life.

Aired by local media outlet Sharq TV, the programme focused on the central role that education can play in women’s personal development and toward their active participation in the country’s economic planning, cultural activities and politics, in keeping with the Afghanistan’s constitution, laws, religion and development priorities.

“Education is important in all aspects of women’s lives, including their personal development and that of the country,” said panellist Humaira Rafi, an official in the Nangarhar provincial council.

Rafi went on to describe how many Nangarhar women have attained university and graduate degrees and are playing active, positive roles in the political arena. But she said the number of such women is still relatively low.

“Our women are suffering a lot, especially in remote areas,” said Rafi, who noted that empowering women can help not only in terms of their social and political participation but also in terms of eliminating violence against women and girls in the province.

Although the Afghan government has taken steps to improve the welfare of women and eliminate gender-based violence through the Elimination of Violence Against Women legislation, the situation remains unchanged for many women across the country, especially in rural areas where harmful traditional practices still take place.

Another panellist in the programme, tribal elder Muhamad Naeem Wolar, urged all segments of Afghan society, including families, religious scholars and education officials, to create opportunities for women and girls to use their full potential and abilities.

“Both Islam and Afghan laws encourage women to participate in social, cultural and political activities,” said Wolar, adding that women and men should work together to bring peace and prosperity to the country.

In the lively debate, participants discussed the strides made by the country to educate and empower women through legislation and the increase in the number of women and girls accessing and attaining education. However, the panellists said much more remains to be done, particularly when it comes to rural women, many of whom are illiterate and poor.

The televised discussion, broadcast by Sharq TV and radio to an audience estimated at 1,000,000 in and around the provincial capital was supported by UNAMA’s Jalalabad regional office as part of a nation-wide outreach initiative aimed at providing local communities with platforms to discuss critical issues affecting them.

Nangarhar province, which shares a porous border with Pakistan, is part of Afghanistan’s eastern region that consists mainly of rural communities that rely on agriculture and trade for their income. Nangarhar connects Kabul with Peshawar, making Nangarhar one of the more economically diverse provinces of Afghanistan and one of the busiest trade hubs between the two countries.

UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation. The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.

UNAMA provides 'good offices' and other key services, including diplomatic steps that draw on the organization’s independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. The Mission coordinates international support for Afghan development and humanitarian priorities.