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Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan


On this page we share how our organization works to ensure donor dollars are used effectively and transparently to undertake responsible and sustainable development programming in the challenging environment of Afghanistan.

  1. What has CW4WAfghan accomplished in Afghanistan?

  2. How do I know that my donation will help the projects in Afghanistan?

  3. How do I know that the organization is legitimate?

  4. Can you issue income tax receipts?

  5. Has there been any improvement in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban?

  6. There are so many worthy charities.  Why might I choose to support CW4WAfghan?

  7. What are the sources of funding for the organization?

1.  What has CW4WAfghan accomplished in Afghanistan?

We're dedicated to human rights. Through our long-term commitment and effective education projects, CW4WAfghan has been able to improve the lives of tens of thousands of women and girls in Afghanistan. It is, however, the Afghans themselves who have accomplished the real ground-breaking change in their country: the millions of girls who head off to school every morning, or widows learning to read for the first time, the thousands of Afghan teachers who go to work every day, or teachers who graduate from our training and work hard to shape their charges' young minds. We, as Canadians, are proud of all the contributions we have made—our time, talents, resources, and funds—towards these remarkable personal accomplishments for so may people committed to changing their lives through education.

For information about our current programs and projects, please visit the Programs page, and for information about our past projects, see the Archived Projects list. In each project description, we share some highlights of the impacts of our work. You can also find information about the results of our programs in each of our annual reports. Here are a few highlights from recent programming to give you an idea of the difference we are making for women and girls in Afghanistan:

  • Nearly 10,000 teachers trained

  • Over 259 schools equipped with science labs

  • 262 schools equipped with starter libraries

  • 26 community libraries established

  • Over 3,123 women who became literate in literacy classes

  • 2659 women who completed life skills workshops

  • 132 literacy classes provided with a library

  • 350 girls currently enrolled in basic education at a school in Kabul

  • Over 50 scholarships awarded through the Shafia Fund

  • 11,670 Hoopoe storybooks for children and 900 Afghan Songbooks distributed to schools

  • One school constructed (Nangarhar) and another refurbished (Kabul)

  • 3000 learning materials in our digital library for teachers in 7 languages

  • And so much more! Browse through our current projects portfolio to learn more.

We have 10 chapters and 2,000 members. In Canada, we have established a fabulous network of Canadian members, supporters and volunteers all across the country. Thanks to the hard work of this network, we have raised over $10,000,000 to support women and girls in Afghanistan since 1998, raised mainly from individual Canadian donors.

2.  How do I know that my donation will help the projects in Afghanistan?

We're accountable. Afghanistan presents a complex and challenging environment in which to manage development projects. It’s true that corruption and waste can be rampant, and business opportunism often tries to pass for genuine charitable objectives. That’s why we’ve worked hard since our establishment in 1998 to constantly evolve a system of accountability. We use numerous policies, checks and tools to ensure financial accountability including the prevention of fraud, results for investment, sustainability of projects, and quality control. We closely monitor all projects, work with our partners to strengthen their capacity in areas such as good governance and project management, and we enforce a zero tolerance policy for financial mismanagement (click here to view our Anti-Corruption Policy). We are audited annually and our financial statements are publicly viewable on our website. Our Project Management Team, including our Finance Managers in both Afghanistan and Canada regularly monitor expenditures, receipts and reporting. Close monitoring of all projects is undertaken by our staff team in Kabul, under the coordination of the Monitoring & Evaluation Senior Officer.

We're small and therefore nimble. The small budgets of many of our projects make project operations manageable and allow us maximum control over their outcomes. We enjoy close collaborative relationships with our implementing partner organizations and we have an accurate picture of the evolution of our projects on a daily basis as a result of our hands-on approach and our consistent interest in capacity building for better project results. Our Project Management Team applies their collective expertise in project management, budgeting and sustainable planning, and works closely with our team of Afghan field staff who manage our Country Office in Kabul. Both Canadian and Afghan team members contribute to monitoring and evaluation activities, regularly collecting data as projects are implemented, in order to evaluate progress towards results. The modest budgets of our projects help ensure resources are stretched to maximum effect, leaving little room for waste.

We're long-term. We select our partners carefully and then commit to supporting them for many years. These long-term relationships mean that we can build on results from one year to the next, continuously improving our methods and impact, and documenting our lessons learned. We can work with our partners to improve their capacity to run excellent projects and to meet new needs as they emerge. We understand and listen to our partners, who in turn understand the communities where they work, and we rely on mutual trust as the basis of these sustained relationships. Further, CW4WAfghan has a long-term presence in several provinces where we have implemented educational activities over a period of years, so we have a good grasp on local needs, challenges, as well as acceptance in the communities where we work.

We're global citizens. We do this work not for financial gain or credit, but because we are deeply committed to the human right to education and to standing by the women and girls of Afghanistan as they seek to empower themselves. We are ordinary people from all walks of life who give our skills and time to a common purpose. We want to see results from our work, and we want to be accountable to our many supporters and donors who have placed their trust in our project management.

We have low administrative costs (3%). Our staff, executive and volunteers all operate with minimal overhead, ensuring that funds are directed to the targeted programs and beneficiaries in Afghanistan. Our expenses are kept to a minimum through volunteer contributions, by maximizing in-kind services and by taking advantage of the cost-savings offered by modern means of electronic communication such as SKYPE, texting, email and social media tools, working from our own residences and reducing operation expenses for rent and utilities, etc. Because of this organizational structure, every dollar donated will be spent towards directly impacting the quality and sustainability of our education programs for Afghan women and girls and for CW4WAfghan as an organization. Please note that if donors choose to contribute using, that website charges 4% from your donation for their service.

CW4WAfghan has a proven track record whereby all of our donor investments are well managed, systematically monitored and evaluated, and most importantly the funds produce direct and immediate results. CW4WAfghan practices the values of "small aid", whereby we operate with minimal overhead, ensuring that funds are directed to our targeted beneficiaries: Afghan women and girls.

3.  How do I know that the organization is legitimate?

We are a registered Canadian charity. CW4WAfghan operates in good standing with the federal government (Canada Revenue Agency #887718203RR0001). We are also registered as a limited liability non-profit corporation through Industry Canada. We are audited annually and publicly disclose our audited annual statements. You can peruse this website to see our financial records. Revenue Canada enforces rigorous accountability standards for registered charities. In Afghanistan, we are a registered international non-governmental organization with the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance, to whom we submit detailed financial and project reports every six months in Kabul. The Ministry of Economy also monitors our projects in the field, and we also report to the Ministry of Education.

4.  Can you issue income tax receipts?

We provide CRA approved income tax receipts automatically for all donations of $30 or more. In order to save stationery and postage expenses associated with mailing receipts, we send income tax receipts for smaller amounts only upon request.

5.  Has there been any improvement in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban? Am I throwing my money away?

We have lots of good news stories. Through our work as a non-profit organization and charity with a long history working in Afghanistan, we see many positive improvements in Afghanistan on a regular basis through our work on the ground. We are very proud to see the incredible impact from our efforts through the education projects we support, and how our long-term commitment has provided tangible and meaningful support to Afghan women and their families. Our current programs in Afghanistan and past projects are described on our website, in our Annual Reports, and you can receive regular updates by signing up to receive our free online news bulletins.

Afghanistan continues to struggle with enormous challenges, and the media tends to focus on those challenges. However, a more balanced report would celebrate such gains as the following:

  • A new constitution adopted in 2004 and a democratically elected parliament have proven a foundation for democratic process. Afghanistan has not had several rounds of both presidential and parliamentary elections, each one with successively higher voter turnout, including among women – a clear signal from Afghans that they are ready to invest in the democratic process, and reject the authoritarianism of the Taliban, who tried and failed to deter people from voting with the threat of violence in each of these elections;

  • 28% of Afghan MPs are female;

  • 3 out of 4 children have been immunized against childhood disease;

  • 8 in 10 Afghans now have access to basic medical services;

  • Over 10 public universities are operational, with many more private universities, and the American University of Afghanistan also operating, expanding people’s access to higher education;

  • Afghanistan has a thriving independent media sector, one of the post-Taliban period’s standout successes, and a great contributor to democratization. There are at least 7 national television stations and a lively media sector are serving as an important check on the government;

  • The maternal mortality rate has decreased significantly since 2002; maternal mortality was estimated for the period 1999-2002 to be between 1,600 and 2,200 (mothers who died of pregnancy related causes per 100,000 live births). In 2010, the Afghanistan Mortality Survey found it had dropped to 329 per 100,000 births;

  • The construction of numerous major highways, tunnels, bridges and road systems throughout the country have facilitated trade and economic growth;

  • Major infrastructure development and repairs, and improved local governance in municipalities and provincial governments across the country;

  • A reforming justice system as hundreds of laws are being revised and that has slowly increased protections for women and girls;

  • Dramatically increased size and capacity of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police and progress in training the security sector, including in delivering literacy classes to most soldiers and police;

  • Significant progress in demining throughout the country, allowing people to return to farming, and to access previously unusable land;

  • Over 9 million children are enrolled in the school system. More children attend school today in Afghanistan than during any previous time in the country’s history;

  • Women are visible in public life in many parts of the country – as politicians, media personalities, businesswomen and civil servants –and increasingly active in the political, economic and cultural spheres;

  • Micro-credit and entrepreneurship support assistance is widely available to women and thousands of women have started businesses of all sizes and in diverse industries.

6.  There are so many worthy charities. Why might I choose to support Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan?

We believe in the power of education. If you do too, we may be a good match for your support through our shared goals to make social change and nurture peace and social development through education. We are a group of Canadians working together to support human rights for Afghan women and girls. Our projects are all education-focused and we have a solid track record of results: we have contributed to quality education for thousands of students each year, and since 2008 have graduated nearly 10,000 teachers. We fund and implement successful projects in teacher training, libraries, literacy, book development, digital literacy and technology for education. We document these results carefully to be able to measure the change we seek. We’re confident that to make lasting social change the best place to invest is in education, and specifically in the empowerment of girls and women and facilitating their access to literacy and educational opportunities. We know this from a wealth of scholarly research that proves it, and from having witnessed change every day on the ground in our projects as lives are profoundly transformed by the power of literacy and access to education opportunity. Decades of international development policy and practice have proven that when women and girls have an education, the whole society benefits. We invite you to be part of this change through your support.

7.  What are the sources of funding for the organization?

Breaking Bread Potluck Dinners:  CW4WAfghan benefits from contributions from communities across Canada through Breaking Bread Donations: Donations to CW4WAfghan each month come mainly from individual donors through our Breaking Bread fundraising initiative. Canadians participating in this fundraising project host a dinner in their home or community, and strive to raise between $750 and $1500 to help pay for education resources in the projects we support.

Sustaining our projects with help from our Monthly Donors and General Donations: Individual Canadian donors have set up a monthly donation or donate each year by cheque or online through on a regular basis to help sustain our programs in Afghanistan.

Foundations and Institutional Donors: We receive donations from small community, private or family foundations in Canada, details of which may be found in our monthly News Bulletins

Service Clubs: We are grateful for several small grants received from Rotary Clubs throughout Canada, such as funding for school libraries from Rotary of Calgary South and many others, as well as fundraising event proceeds, and for ongoing support to the Fatema tul Zahra School from the Rotary Club of Kabul City and the Bad Neuenahr Ahrweileler Rotary Club of Germany.

Government Funding:  Some projects are funded by government grants, which give us the opportunity to leverage the impact of donor gifts. Examples include recent funding from Global Affaris Canada for the GETT Project: Gender Equity in Teacher Training to Improve Girls’ Education in Afghanistan; past support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for teacher training: Excel-erate (2008-2010) and Fanoos (2011-2013); and a USAID grant for our Afghanistan Reads! women’s community literacy and libraries program, and later for a project focused on using our Darakht-e Danesh Library to prepare students for the national school-leaving exam, the Kankor (2016-2017). The Canadian Embassy in Kabul has contributed grants for the provision of School Science Lab Starter Kits, developing a digital literacy curriculum, Fanoos and other projects, through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). Grants have also been provided in the past from the Government of Alberta and the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation for Fanoos and Afghanistan Reads!.

Author, Deb Ellis and The Breadwinner Book Royalties: The royalties from The Breadwinner and Parvana's Journey by Canadian author Deb Ellis have been allocated to our projects supporting education in Afghanistan. An incredible amount of almost CAD$2,000,000 has been received since 2000 thanks to this generous commitment from Deborah Ellis.


Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
PO Box 86016, Marda Loop, Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2T 6B7

t: 1 (403) 244-5625

Registered Charity #887718203RR0001

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