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New Afghanistan programme: reinforcing the psychosocial well-being of women

Afghanistan faced decades of war and brutal repression. Nowhere is the need to address (family) violence more challenging than in the present context of Afghanistan. Violence is perceived as firmly imbedded in the Afghan society with many societal interrelated factors that evoke and reinforce family violence and violence in the community. Although women in Afghanistan face the same problems as women in all developing countries (poverty, lack of education, high fertility rates and little or no decision making power), many elements of the inequalities Afghan women experience are extreme in their nature and the context in which they live. It is considered to be exceptional as a result of the combination of traditional restrictions in women’s behaviour (‘purdah’) with ongoing war-related problems and tensions.

The new Afghanistan programme (2011-2014) aims to reinforce the psychosocial well-being of women, by restoring the social cohesion on a community level. The programme will actively promote and revitalize helping skills that are no longer utilized by the local people due to demoralization, collective apathy or a lack of appropriate knowledge.

 Interventions are targeted at the community level and promote individual and cultural appropriate solutions to improve the capacity of women to increase income, to undertake new initiatives and to take care of themselves and their children. The real added value of the programme is the close collaboration of HealthNet TPO with two local partner organizations AWRC and AWEC. All three organizations have more or less the same objectives, which are in line with the National Afghan Plan; women empowerment and gender equity. Furthermore, they have their own specific expertise, entry points, and networks. The goal here is to enhance the efficiency and quality of services by working together and being complementary and by learning from each other’s expertise and experiences.

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