Zahra Ibrahimi is the new regional director in Herat running Promote’s Musharikat program in the west region of Afghanistan and already she is making a difference.
Ibrahimi will be working with Civil Society Organizations in Herat, Badghis, Farah, Ghor and Nimroz provinces to get them involved with Musharikat. The program is designed to strengthen and enhance the collective power of women's rights groups by promoting Afghan women's rights and empowerment through coalition building.
Ibrahimi was only in the job a few weeks when she heard about a new male movement to support women that is working to end violence against them and raise awareness about the disturbing problem.
Eighteen male activists in Herat founded Men Supporting Women in late November with the support of religious leaders and civil activists. One criterion to join is that a man may not have a second wife. Most members are civil activists or university students or working in NGOs and INGOs.
“I was talking to them about activities for Herat and learned about the movement,” said Mrs. Ibrahimi. “Violence against women is still a big problem so I said we should work together. It’s useless to just educate women about the problem. We need to work together with men who don’t believe that women have rights.”
Before joining Musharikat Project, Ms. Zahra was the Manager at Action Aid Afghanistan in Herat and worked on the “Elimination of Violence Against Women” Program. This program was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Justice. She was responsible for funding, program development and implementation of the program.
She also served as the Managing Director with Women’s Activities and Social Services Association (WASSA). WASSA mainly focuses on civil society strengthening, legal and social protection and conflict resolution and peace building. In her role as Managing Director, she led the projects and coordinated activities with different advocacy networks of women and human rights activists to raise the voice of Afghan women.
Promote’s Musharikat activities will be implemented countrywide in cooperation with one to two women's rights-focused organizations in each of Afghanistan's 34 provinces. A minimum of 50 organizations and 5,000 activists will participate.