Kabul, Afghanistan, September 4, 2013 — On August 28, 2013, The Asia Foundation, in partnership with the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and through financial support of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), launched $6.8 million USD (£4.5 million GBP) project, “Increasing Women’s Political Participation and Dialogue Opportunities in Afghanistan,” as part of the Foundation’s efforts to ensure women’s visibility in political spaces and 2014-2015 electoral processes in Afghanistan. Ms. Shukria Barakzai, Member of Parliament; Ms. Mizghan Mostafwi, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs; DFID Afghanistan Deputy Head of Office, Mr. Andy Leigh; Mohammad Yousaf Nooristani, Chairman of IEC; Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhil Chief Electoral Officer of IEC, and Mark Kryzer, the Foundation’s country representative in Afghanistan participated in the event.
The “Increasing Women’s Political Participation and Dialogue Opportunities in Afghanistan” project, active from June 2013 to December 2015, will provide capacity-building assistance to female members of parliament, female provincial councilors and potential female candidates to run in 2014-2015 elections and will promote women’s participation as voters in upcoming elections. The project will also support women candidates to deliver campaign messages, facilitate networking and mentoring events with public figures and civil society organizations (CSOs). Formal and informal dialogue forums will be held with traditional and religious leaders (Ulema) along with the wider Afghan society to discuss election-related issues and communicate messages on women’s political participation through credible media channels. The project will also work with selected male leaders to communicate targeted messages on the importance of women in politics.
Mark Kryzer, the Foundation’s country representative in Afghanistan said: “The Asia Foundation has been helping to improve the lives of the people of Afghanistan since 1954. We are very excited to assist women candidates for the upcoming elections and to generally support women’s participation in the political process through this program.”