Charting a path for Afghan women in government
EAI designed a high-impact behavior change program that included developing USAID's Promote: Women in Government communication's strategy, a radio series, workshops and in-depth issue strategies to encourage women to apply for government jobs.
A Project of —
Afghanistan, USAID Promote: Women in Government; Chemonics
I had no information that in Islam, women have the right to work, but I learned it from this workshop… I learned from this workshop that a woman was a Mayor in the early Islamic period, which was interesting and important to me. Knowing that Islam has permitted women to work, has made me hopeful and optimistic.”
Graduate from Aryana Institute of Higher Education
Over the course of three years, in partnership with Chemonics under the USAID Promote project, EAI designed a high-impact behavior change program that included developing USAID’s Promote: Women in Government communications strategy and a series of activities using community engagement and creative storytelling methods that fostered an enabling environment for Afghan women to seek government employment.
EAI kicked off the Women in Government (WIG) activities through in-depth formative research and stakeholder workshops to identify socio-cultural barriers to women working in government and generate buy-in of critical influencers and stakeholders. The research formed the backbone for a comprehensive multi-component strategy implemented in partnership with regional and global partners.
EAI led a comprehensive recruitment process in all USAID Promote provinces using print and multimedia to enroll young women in a series of workshops to train them to apply for government internships. EAI’s local staff conducted workshops in Nangarhar, Balkh, and Kabul, which included providing accurate information about women’s right to work under Afghan law; educated participants on the steps to take to apply for government internships; and provided concrete job search training, resume writing and interview skills. Through this series of workshops, EAI reached nearly 600 women.
One Village A Thousand Voices (OVATV) – To spark community dialogue about women’s rights and ability to work within the Afghan government, EAI’s award-winning Afghan script writers developed compelling police detectives and believable family dynamics that brought the real world complexities of women working in Afghanistan to light in a powerful and dynamic way. OVATV is broadcast on radio Azadi, which reaches primarily rural and illiterate audiences. The unique structure of OVATV creates a space and opportunity for listeners to discuss taboo issues. The show models interactions with formal institutions, showing the audience how and to which departments they can refer their disputes and how to advocate for themselves. Rather than a monologue, the show invites the community to share its perspective through weekly call-in shows. This series complemented the high-touch community engagement work EAI and its partners initiated. By the end of the program, EAI had written, produced and broadcast 263 episodes for the WIG project.
Strategies to develop male champions and create a supportive working environment – In line with the changing approaches to gender equality strategies EAI researched, designed, and wrote a Championship Strategy to enable project partners to identify and enroll male and female champions already in government to advocate for women’s right to work. Additionally, EAI wrote and produced a Professionalism in the Workplace training video targeted at government employees, which will form part of the orientation materials for newly hired employees and will refresh the knowledge of current civil service staff members, particularly individuals in positions of authority, on the topics of civil service laws, regulations, and codes of conduct, professionalism in the workplace, and anti-harassment as they relate to women in the workplace. In addition to these specific activities, EAI implemented a behavioral change campaign through public forums, roundtable discussions, and additional university workshops, which were recorded, edited and broadcast as four 30-minute television news pieces.
"Several girls of our area made their ways to university this year. They were inspired by their mothers, and OVATV shows the importance of women in our society, and we all should mind this."
Impact & Reach of this Project (OVATV)
Original Radio Epsidoes
USAID PROMOTE: Women In Government was designed to increase and advance the number of women in the Afghan Civil Service. In close coordination with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), USAID Promote: Women in Government aims to ensure women are represented at the highest levels of policy and decision-making in Afghan society and government. This component of Promote facilitates women’s entry into decision-making roles in government service by establishing an internship program for high school- and college-level female students interested in working within government ministries, encourages policy reform which support women working within the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) at both the national and regional levels, increases local stakeholder support for women in government.
The USAID Promote: Women in Government program has three objectives:
- Facilitate women’s entry into decision-making roles in government service;
- Encourage a hospitable environment for female staff in government by addressing policies;
- Increase local stakeholder support for women in government.
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