Launch of Afghan women's fund of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children

The Women's Commission has created a Fund to support Afghan Women's groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan as they respond to the critical humanitarian needs of Afghan refugee women. The Women's Commission will distribute grants according to a set of criteria and will provide technical assistance to the groups to ensure coordination and monitoring of projects. We will collaborate with United Nations and non-governmental relief and development organizations.
The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children has worked with local groups to monitor the situation for Afghan refugee and internally displaced women and girls for the past decade. The Women's Commission Technical Advisor, based in Peshawar, Pakistan, has traveled to camps and remote villages to evaluate conditions facing women and girls in order to make recommendations to the international community regarding ways to improve protection and assistance.

Despite an often hostile environment, a growing network of Afghan women's organizations has emerged and is providing crucial humanitarian assistance. The Women's Commission will continue to build the capacity of these local women's groups and to emphasize the important role they are playing now in the emergency. They are best-positioned to identify the needs of women and to design programs that are culturally appropriate. They must be key players in the peace process and in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Afghan women's groups undertake projects related to health, health education, education, income generation, and more recently, trauma counseling and rights awareness. They are active mostly in refugee camps around and/or refugee communities living in urban areas of Peshawar, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Quetta, Pakistan, as well as in Iran. Some have also been able to work across borders into Afghanistan as well.

Examples of the groups that the Afghan Women's Fund plans to support include:

  • Afghan Women's Resource Centre -- providing health, education, income generation, skills training and relief distributions since 1987

  • Shuhada -- providing health and education both inside and outside Afghanistan since 1989

  • Afghan Women's Education Center -- providing trauma counseling and advice to destitute women, projects for street women and children and relief distributions since the early 1990s, and

  • Afghan Women's Welfare Department -- offering health, income generation, skills training, education and relief distributions.

These Afghan women's groups do face serious obstacles in their work, and they need our financial and technical support. If we do not maximize their experience, wisdom and passion, we have not done everything we can to help in this humanitarian crisis.

Contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations to the Afghan Women's Fund of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children are tax deductible. Donors will receive acknowledgments for their gifts as well as regular reports.

For further information regarding donations, please contact:
Ramina Johal
Afghan Women's Fund: Project Manager