UNDP’s Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan (JHRA) project is providing public legal awareness and human rights “training of trainers” (ToTs) to teachers and community leaders in nine provinces to help reverse the possible long-term impact of the exclusion of girls from formal education.
Working with local NGO Humanitarian Assistance Muska (HAM), JHRA has organized over 50 ToTs for teachers on ethics, values and justice in Islam; human rights and children’s rights in the Afghan Constitution; and gender and justice in school. Through this network of trained teachers, UNDP has reached 43,000 students with this rights-based curriculum.
“We like this class because it shows us that all children have rights, and helps us talk to our parents about going to school,” says Hamida, a grade 3 student from Faizabad, in Badakhshan Province, who travels from another village to attend the rights course. “My parents are very supportive. Both me and my younger sister go
to school, and I want to go to university and become a teacher. We have talked to our neighbours too, through our parents, and now more families in our village are sending their daughters to school too!”
The JHRA project also conducts regular trainings through local NGO Educational and Training Center for Poor Women and Girls of Afghanistan (ECW) to inform community leaders about the same issues. These leaders – such as religious leaders and village elders – can then pass these ideas on to their communities. This ensures that social changes and growth happen uniformly, with all members of the community accessing the same information about human rights in Islam and their practical application in Afghanistan.
“Islam teaches that everyone has an obligation to realize their full potential,” said Halim, member of the village shura, or elders’ council, for Badakhshan. “So how can we stop girls from going to school? We talk to people about the true Islamic values to build a strong community.”
The Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan project is a multi-donor programme that helps to develop the capacities of the Government of Afghanistan in providing rule of law services and in complying with international human rights standards. Public Legal Awareness activities are conducted as part of the District Level Component, which also provides direct assistance for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of justice sector facilities in districts outside of Kabul and is funded exclusively by the European Union. Other JHRA donors include the governments of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.