PROMOTE STUDENTS MEET WITH FIRST LADYKABUL, AFGHANISTAN: Sixteen young women in Promote’s Jawana program met with First Lady Rula Ghani in late November to discuss their social service projects and share how the program has transformed their lives.

The young women are among 700 around the country who completed the three-month Jawana curriculum in December under Promote’s Women’s Leadership Development component.

The students range from 18 to 33 and hail from five provinces. Mrs. Ghani had asked to meet with Promote women, and they took the opportunity to talk their campaign to end discrimination and violence against women in all forms.

Under the Jawana curriculum, the girls drafted an eight-point declaration and launched the campaign as a requirement to create a social change project. They based it on their research and an informal survey of 140 Afghan journalists. The journalists pointed to judicial and police corruption--in addition to the uneven application of Shariah-- for the growing insecurity Afghan women and girls experience.

Another part of the curriculum focuses on Violence Against Women case studies. This motivated them to ask Mrs. Ghani to lend her voice to the full ratification of the county’s controversial Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law, which continues to languish in the lower house.

Halima Amiri, 21, who will graduate with more than 600 other Jawana participants in January, said afterwards that meeting Afghanistan’s First Lady, “gave me the courage to continue working hard to improve myself and my society.”

The Jawana curriculum will enable Afghanistan’s most talented young women to become future leaders in government, business and civil society, specifically focusing on young women who have at least a high school diploma, vocational school or university degree.

Promote’s Women’s Leadership Development component is designed to provide 18,000 high-achieving, young educated women with sophisticated, cutting-edge leadership skills through the Jawana course.