On August 2, Musharikat Coalition members in Herat province were invited to meet with a delegation of Senators visiting Herat City to conduct stakeholder consultations as part of an initiative supported by the USAID Assistance to Legislative Bodies of Afghanistan (ALBA) project. Twenty-three members of the Musharikat Access to Education, Violence against Women, and Women’s Economic Empowerment Coalitions represented the interests of women in the region, focusing on the priority issues limiting women’s ability to access their rights and fully participate in Afghan society.
The delegation asked coalition members to develop a position paper describing the key concerns and challenges facing women in the Western region and proposing solutions to be introduced as part of the Meshrano Jirga’s agenda during the upcoming legislative session. The document, currently under development, includes the following key points:
Access to Education: (1) High school education must be made mandatory by law for both men and women. (2) The Government of Afghanistan, specifically the Ministries of Education and Higher Education must strengthen teachers’ capacity to deliver quality education and must increase the number of female teachers.
Women’s Economic Empowerment: (1) Opportunities for women’s employment within the Government must be increased. (2) More funding must be made available to support women-owned businesses.
- Violence against Women: (1) Marriage registration and obtaining marriage certificate must be made mandatory by law.
Mrs. Gulalai Akbari, Chairwoman of the Meshrano Jirga’s delegation, said: “the three coalitions prioritized in the Promote Musharikat National Summit affect every human being life in this country, not only women.” She pledged the delegation’s support for Musharikat activities.
This consultation between Musharikat Coalitions and parliamentary delegations is the first in series to be held in provinces across Afghanistan and an important first step in building partnerships between civil society and GIRoA to advance women’s rights and equality in Afghanistan – one of the project’s key objectives.