USAID Afghanistan - Program highlights 01 - 15 Dec 2009

Situation Report
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Ending Violence Against Women: Violence against women is a major problem in Afghanistan, and many women and girls will fall victim to domestic violence during their lifetimes. USAID is supporting Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs (MoWA) in a coordinated effort to raise awareness about domestic violence and women's rights.

On November 25, Minister of Women's Affairs Hosn Bano Ghazanfar held a press conference to mark Elimination of Violence Against Women Day and distributed food to vulnerable women. Other activities in November and December include the launch of a campaign titled "The Role of Men in the Family," which uses booklets, posters, and radio spots to educate men about their responsibility to respect women's rights. Additionally, Salam Watandar radio station is broadcasting a six-episode, five-minute drama series in Pashto and Dari on human trafficking, which will reach listeners in all 34 provinces.

Provincial Departments of Women's Affairs also hosted local events to raise awareness about violence against women. In Kandahar, more than 300 women participated in a ceremony during which religious leaders and representatives of the Governor's Office, women's associations, and community groups spoke out regarding the violence against women in Afghanistan. To end violence against women, ceremony participants recommended enhancing the awareness of male and female community members about women's rights within an Islamic framework.


USAID Pilots a Solar Solution for Afghanistan's Nomads: Afghanistan's Kuchi nomads have been identified by the United Nations as one of the country's largest vulnerable populations. There are reportedly three million Kuchis in Afghanistan, with at least 60 percent maintaining a fully nomadic lifestyle. USAID recently partnered with the Ministry of Rural Reconstruction and Development (MRRD) to provide solar lights for Kuchis in Nangarhar province, improving safety and quality of life.

The solar light is a rugged, long-lasting, solarpowered, and rechargeable alternative to the expensive kerosene lanterns that many Kuchis currently use. The solar light could potentially save users more than 20 to 30 percent of the their monthly income by reducing the need to purchase kerosene. Solar lights also eliminate fine carbon inhalation, injuries from burns due to kerosene spillage, and the risk of fire. As a pilot initiative, 10 solar lights were distributed to a Kuchi community. The community members were asked to evaluate the lights in terms of the adequacy of the light provided, number of hours of use between recharging, and durability. MRRD staff assisted USAID in the distribution and will monitor the viability of the solar lights for broader distribution.