What You Can Do
Many people ask "but what can I do to help?" The conflict, poverty, and human rights issues facing Afghan women are complex and must be addressed through multiple approaches and through creative, committed efforts from many different people and institutions both within Afghanistan, and from the international community. As an individual, you too can do something.
We know that our individual actions as Canadians do matter, when they are responsive to the needs on the ground, planned well, and carried out in coordination with others.
Please contact a chapter in your area to learn about local activities and how you can volunteer to contribute to our goals of advancing education in Afghanistan in your community.
Know Your Human Rights
Learn about your rights; speak out to secure and protect human rights for Afghan women; raise funds, join in solidarity with social justice groups, write letters.
As Canadians, the very first step is to learn about and respect our own rights. Become fully aware of your rights and acknowledge that protection of human rights is everyone’s responsibility. The very basic rights previously denied Afghan women are guaranteed to ALL people by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and by other pieces of international human rights legislation that followed the UDHR such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Afghanistan is a signatory to all of these declarations.
Know the Goals
Afghanistan has well laid out goals for its social, economic and political development, captured in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS). The ANDS is linked to the Millenium Development Goals for Afghanistan, which include realizing the right to education, improving gender equity, and ending poverty, among other objectives. The Afghanistan Compact is the document that outlines Afghanistan’s partnership with the international community to achieve the goals of ANDS. The Government of Afghanistan periodically publishes progress reports on ANDS that are available on governmental websites. It is important that all development activities in Afghanistan are well linked to the goals of ANDS, to support Afghan-led development.
Support Development Projects in Afghanistan
• Fundraise by supporting or giving presentations to schools and community groups, host dinners, organize bake sales or poster/banner making gatherings. Invent your own fundraising activity: People support us in all kinds of creative ways. One supporter recently collected pledges for her kayak race. Another belly dances to raise funds for CW4WAfghan. Others have donated proceeds from craft sales, bake sales, bottle drives or collected donations in their work place or at their school. We have a Wish List we would be happy to share with you, describing the projects we are seeking support for, from small items like Science Kits to larger projects in need of grants. Contact us to discuss your ideas.
• Become a Member of CW4WAfghan to demonstrate your support to our goals.
• Hold a Breaking Bread potluck dinner in your home to sponsor a teacher’s salary in Afghanistan or buy a School Library Starter Kit or School Science Lab Starter Kit.
• Invite a CW4WAfghan speaker to your work place, school or community group.
• Join a local CW4WAfghan Chapter as a volunteer, or think about starting a chapter in your community.
• Sign up to our mailing list to hear about upcoming events, news and opportunities to get involved: http://www.cw4wafghan.ca/
• Read our Fact Sheets series to get updated on various topics from the state of education in Afghanistan to maternal health issues.
• Visit our Support link...purchase books, set up an Afghan Marketplace to sell beautiful imported items from Afghanistan, or set up an informative photoexhibit at your school or community events.
• Volunteer: if you can’t join a local chapter, we have several virtual volunteer opportunities. We are always looking for people with the following skills: research, media, translation, writing, public speakers, graphic design, and other areas.
Advocate for Rights and for Promises Made to Afghans
Advocacy for the rights of women in Afghanistan can have many outlets:
• Learn about the issues from a variety of sources and be constructive in your analysis, focusing on solutions and identifying opportunities for making sustainable change. Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan produces regular educational information for the public, hosts local activities, maintains an active website, distributes regular newsletters --all towards the goal of helping Canadians learn more about human rights issues in Afghanistan so that we can all contribute meaningfully to advocacy efforts. You can be a rights advocate in conversations with friends and neighbours, as much as from a podium or from writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
• Raise awareness in your community, in your country. Speak out for the need to secure and protect women’s rights in Afghanistan and help others learn to respect these rights. Join in solidarity with others to work towards protecting the basic human rights of Afghan women and girls: join local and national groups, join an email list service or discussion group, or read about what other Canadians are doing to support Afghan people and find out how to support them. For example, our friends at the Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee are appealing for Canadians to sign the Pledge in Solidarity with Afghans, with the aim of ending the violence of all illegal armed groups, alleviating poverty, and supporting Afghans’ struggles for peace, justice, and stability. Sign the pledge here: http://afghanistan-canada-solidarity.org/user/register
• Write letters or compile petitions to voice your concerns to local and national governments and UN representatives when a pressing rights issue is facing Afghan women and girls. CW4WAfghan often collaborates in networks and coalitions to advocate for the protection of women’s rights, or in response to a specific threat, such as when we supported this petition to protect women’s shelters in Afghanistan. You can keep up with our advocacy efforts by joining our newsletter from this website, as well as by subscribing the Network for Afghan Women List, where advocacy appeals are regularly circulated.
Your Actions Do Make A Difference!