Afghanistan is a country in transition and continues to face significant challenges that require improvements in security, the economy, governance, and education. The past year saw steps forward in education and women’s rights, declining levels of migration, and continued commitments from the international community at the Brussels Conference, but much more progress is needed to create a stable and democratic society. The Asia Foundation supports the Afghan people through local programs and partnerships focused on improving rule of law, access to and quality of education, women’s rights and empowerment, regional cooperation, and security.
Increasing access to justice by enforcing laws
Violence against women is prevalent, with 80 percent of Afghan women stating they experience it on a daily basis. In 2017, 22 percent of women polled in our annual Survey of the Afghan People said domestic violence is one of the biggest problems facing Afghan women. We work to increase women’s access to justice. Although Afghan law criminalizes numerous forms of violence against women, an understanding of women’s rights in Islam and capacity to enforce the law are limited. An ongoing effort, with funding from The Royal Netherlands Embassy, allowed us to provide training in 20 provinces to help enforce the law. We also supported an effort in 2017 that provides restorative justice to victims of domestic violence, with activities benefiting nearly 1 million.
Afghanistan in 2017: A Survey of the Afghan People
The number of Afghans who say the country is moving in the right direction has increased and optimism has risen slightly, reversing a decade-long downward trajectory in national mood. At the same time, fears about security and the economy affect attitudes about the future of the country, and a large number of respondents indicate they would leave the country if afforded the opportunity. The Survey of the Afghan People is the longest-running and broadest nationwide survey of Afghan attitudes and opinions. Since 2004, the Survey has gathered the opinions of more than 97,000 Afghan men and women, providing a unique longitudinal portrait of evolving public perceptions of security, the economy, governance and government services, elections, media, women’s issues, and migration.
NEWS FROM AFGHANISTAN
Improving science and math learning for Afghan girls
Afghanistan has endured decades of conflict and instability that have significantly degraded and disrupted education. Technology and digital media can make a difference, especially when teaching material is dated. Recently, we debuted an effort to improve science and math instruction in 300 girls’ high schools by providing tablets loaded with videos and thousands of practice quizzes. We also piloted the use of mobile and smart TV learning for 2,000 students in primary school, leading to significant improvements in reading skills, increased class attendance, and overall student engagement.
HIGHLIGHTS ACROSS ASIA
Uncovering the Impact of
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
China passed a crucial Anti-Domestic Violence Law, but they need hard data to implement it. Our survey uncovers the real human, societal, and business costs.