The Bayan II project was conducted in Afghanistan to increase public support for inclusive security, inclusive Peace-building, and political participation of women broadly.
Problems and Purpose
Women collectively possess the power to improve lives and advance their communities. There cannot be any development if any gender is left behind in any development efforts.[i] 
Afghanistan is a country where women systematically have been facing gender inequality and discrimination in the community and Government sectors. To address the response, regional and International Organizations in Afghanistan, in conjunction with Afghan Government counterparts, have been affording to foster national influencing on women's Rights in Afghanistan. The Bayan II project was implemented by Gender Concern International Organization and its seven local partners from 2014-2016 in Afghanistan.
The core purpose of the project:
- To increase public support for inclusive security, inclusive Peace-building, and political participation,
- To Increase the number of women politicians and parliamentarians in the Government sector,
- Consist of Capacity building sessions for the partner to promote women's rights at various high-level meetings and events to bring political attention to the existing situation,
- Capacity-building intervention with local partners aimed to engage participants in the call to promote Women's Rights under the Dutch National Action Plan and The UN Security Council Resolution 1325,
- Strengthening other regional organizations on security, Peace, and political Participation in 2015. [i]
[i] Gender Concern International. Annual Report.2014. Pp:6.
Background History and Context
In November 2013, the GCI conducted the Bayan I Pilot Project to increase the number and capacity of Women politicians in Afghanistan. The project established a dedicated Social Media platform and created the foundation of a cohesive partnership between the Dutch INGOs and Afghan organizations. After the successful implementation of Bayan I. In 2014 Gender Concern International was looking forward to continuing its mission in a wide range which focused on Inclusive Governance and improved security through influence. The GCI started the Bayan II with three Dutch and Seven Local Afghan partners.
The two years project core activities were included:
- Linked national awareness and influenced Raising to the essential issue areas of Inclusive security and Political Participation of Afghan Women,
- Levered Innovative Public Outreach and awareness platforms,
- Promoted Policy Influencing and advocacy at the central level of Kabul,
- Targeted Social and Governmental Institutions across all levels of Afghan society and Civil Society,
- Advocacy Activities toward the bodies in the Hague, Brussels, and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women's Rights in New York.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The Bayan II project was conducted by Gender Concern International in consortium with Cordaid and Oxfam Novib with two Local partners: The Development of Supports of Afghan Women and Children Organization (DSAWCO), The Afghan Women’s Network (AWN), and Women Human Rights and Media Organization (WHMO) in 2014. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs funded the project.[i]
[i] Gender Concern International. Annual Report.2014. Pp:6.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
In Mach 2015, the GCI regional Coordinator traveled to Afghanistan to attend and assist in the first inception of the Bayan II project in Afghanistan. The workshop was entitled Inclusive Governance and improved security through Policy. To achieve this, GCI formed a consortium with Oxfam and Cordaid and eight local Afghan NGOs to determine the best feasible way to conduct the project. The following activities were done initially:
- Introduction to policy and structure of each NGO,
- Group Discussion on how the NGOs can make an enormous difference in Afghanistan,
- Each local organization explained its planned project activities and desired outcomes,
- The introduction workshop concluded with a brainstorming session between all the Organizations on how to improve the project, coordinate the work of various organizations, and combine the expertise to reach a larger audience.
In the same week, a second workshop was held by GCI on advocacy and lobbying. Each organization explained its lobby and advocacy strategies. Plans were then discussed and analyzed in a group to see how they could be adapted and improved to fit the project. The positive project outcomes established a long-standing commitment between Dutch and Afghan Local Organizations. [i] 
[i] Gender Concern Website: http://www.genderconcerns.org/news/inception-of-bayan-ii-afghanistan/
Methods and Tools Used
The GCI has been focused on and supported Women’s Democratic participation in fragile states as well as within emerging and established Democracies by advocating for gender equality. Working in a partnership with Afghan Local Partners and Civil society pursued such an ambituses tusk with accountability and transparency. Fundraising processes were essential and were project-based funding from Dutch and Europe Communities. Financial management and administration of the project was the mechanism to evaluate the process regularly. Bayan II project was commissioned to supervise on a regular base. Internal and External evaluations were embedded in the project management structure and were conducted with the required skills and expertise. The project financial administration was conducted on three levels:
- At the Local Level: the financial reports were provided by the GCI Local Partners regional office regularly through their finance office,
- At the Head Office Level: the finance administration maintained and supervised the reports for control and audit purposes,
- A critical internal control system was set up to observe the activities and ensure transparency and accountability regularly. [i] 
[i]  Gender Concern International website page: http://www.genderconcerns.org/accountability-and-transparency/
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The GCI Local Partners' core activities are listed as follows:
The Afghan Women’s Resource Center (AWRC) did the following activities between March 2015-May 2016:
- Enhanced accountability in Afghan Security Sector regarding women's rights,
- Promoted a safe environment for female Police inside Afghan National Police Center (ANP),
- Conducted Workshops in ten Schools in four provinces. Female Afghan youth were targeted to join in Afghan police Forces,
- Conducted a Public Awareness campaign on the Support, inclusion, and participation of women in the community,
The AWRC conducted several awareness training campaigns that focused on specific groups, including women, local communities, religious leaders, and journalists. Around 408 participants were trained and benefited from the project. They practiced 1325 UN security council Resolutions and national codes on women's Rights at the political participation and decision-making level. In addition, it made Afghan Women aware of their Fundamental Human rights. As a case study, one participant explained her thoughts "Being a Woman is not in my hand; I was naturally born a woman, but now I got, being ashamed to be a woman is not acceptable for me anymore.” Furthermore, the project did not focus only on women but also on locals (Male community) to promote and support the efforts. Local Communities received the training to increase the positive effects of initiative. Moreover, The campaign was conducted in an official coordination process with the Ministry of Haj and Owqaf (Religious Affairs) authorities. The participants (Religious Leaders) were selected and introduced officially by the Ministry to the workshop. They supported women's Rights and its conventions while preaching in Mosques during Friday prayer. One of the Participants in a success Story said: Before, we thought that Women's Rights concepts were against Islam, but now I understand the workshop and the efforts are not against Islam. Our religion supports Islamic views regarding Women.
Around 40 religious Leaders participated in the program from four provinces. In closing, they committed to supporting the efforts widely. Furthermore, The number of Journalists/reporters trained by AWRC in four provinces of Afghanistan promoting Women's Rights and political participation. The participants were gathered from these Organizations included:
- Department of Information and Cultures staff,
- Public and private Radio/Television reporters,
- Public and private Press broadcasting centers.[i] 
- Equality for Peace and Democracy (EPD) was another local partner of GCI in conducting the Bayan II project. The targeted provinces were Kabul, Bamiyan, Nangarhar, Herat, Kandahar, Faryab, and Kunduz. The project took place from 15 December 2014 till 15 December 2016. The project's core goals:
- Examined behavioral differences between male and female MPs in Afghanistan, and to answer whether the behaviors and values asserted as predisposing individuals to corrupt behavior differ between male and female MPs,
- Determined whether there is a relationship between women in legislature and corruption in Afghanistan,
- Examined whether a typical personality and background for Afghan politicians could be identified, at large or by gender, and how such a profile might help explain trends in corruption and barriers to meaningful participation.
- The overall activities:
- The research was conducted on Gender aspects and their relationship with corruption,
- Trained female MPs and Provincial Council Members to increase their accountability and build their capacity in public outreach, communications, and constituent engagement,
- Facilitated public outreach sessions and community engagement with female MPs and Provincial council members.
- Screened a documentary film for the participants of the workshop on “UNSCR 1325”,
- The organization conducted a survey on the "Relation between Gender and Corruption" in the Parliament of Afghanistan. The targeted population was all the MPs. Around 105 participants (72 Male and 33 Female) were interviewed. The data were analyzed and reported to Cordaid and Oxfam.
The EPD also trained several Participants on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in seven Provinces.
The assessment reports revealed that the training held in seven provinces of Afghanistan positively impacted the participants' outcomes before and after the program. Before the activity, the participants lacked knowledge about UNSCR 1325 and required more information. Herat province demonstrated the highest initial knowledge, while Kabul had the lowest. The evaluation and assessment showed that the participants were interested in promoting women's rights and political participation.
A documentary film was also part of EPD's efforts to screen Afghan women's Lives. Furthermore, six workshops were held for the following organizations in seven provinces:
- Government official authorities,
- Department of Women Affairs,
- Justice Sectors,
- Male and Female Police Forces.[i] 
The Fast Relief and Development (FRD) were another local partner of GCI that conducted the Bayan II Project in Kabul, Herat, and Balkh provinces. It surveyed to determine the percentage of Women's participation in policy and public platforms. Around 30 public speaking events were conducted in the 10th districts of Kabul. The core concepts of the events were included:
- How to reduce the level of violence against Afghan Women in social and political aspects,
- Exploring the roots and cause, Factors, dynamics, and sensitivities of Violence against Afghan Women,
- To address the problems and produce solutions.
More than 350 Participants with various perspectives (Young Leaders, Human Rights Activists, Community Leaders, Politicians, young local women and girls, and Students) came together at this event to get awareness about their Human rights in the community. Media broadcasted the events widely at regional and international levels ensuring their message could reach out through them to the most rural and remote areas of Afghanistan. Another effort that could be highlighted was theater Performance conveying “how women can be protected in public and political platforms.”[ii] 
The Women and Peace Studies Organizations (WPS) during the Bayan II Reflection project workshop that was held between 22-23 May 2016 explained their primary activities of the Bayan II Project in 2015 as follows:
- Promoted Civic engagements,
- Conducted Public awareness Raising campaigns,
- Trained participants on Capacity Buildings,
- Implemented the Project to meet the Female Police and Gender integration strategy plan,
- Recruited participants from three provinces (Bamiyan, Kunduz, and Ghur),
- Conducted Community dialogue events in Kabul, Bamiyan, Kunduz, and Ghur provinces,
- Conducted 31 Media Radio dramas on BBC and 61 Local Media dramas in Salam Standard.
The capacity building program covered the main topics:
- The Afghanistan National Police (ANP) (Civil Preformed Law),
- The ANP Codes of Conducts,
- Gender Integrations strategy plan,
- Women's Social and Economic Rights in Islam and Afghanistan's Constitutions,
- National and International Conventions and Standards on Women's Rights.
The Afghanistan Capacity Development& Educational Organization (ACDEO) created the first toll-free (6464) in Afghanistan to meet the Bayan II project goals of "Providing Family Support, Legal Advice, and Counseling Service Hotline. The project's main activities included:
- In Bamiyan Province: Conducted media campaign to support Female police in the Police headquarters, Bamiyan's University, Bayman's Girls high schools, Bamiyan's Directorate of Women Affairs, and Bamiyan's Women Councils.
- In Panjshir Province: the Police Headquarters, Punjsher University, Punjsher Girls high school, the Directorate of Women Affairs, Women Council, the Punjsher Assembly Shora-e-Ulama, The Pujsher Regional Radio station.
As a local partner of GCI, the Afghan Women's Education Center (AWEC) conducted the Bayan II project in Balkh, Paktika, and Herat provinces between 2015 and 2016. The main activities: conducted Conferences, training on "Roll of culture and traditions on Afghan women's political participation” and UNSCR 1325. The targeted population was the Universities and Women's Councils to deliver the knowledge. In addition, they conducted a workshop on the mentioned topics to Religious Leaders Mullah Emam to promote Women's Rights and facilitate women's political participation in the communities. Furthermore, the Research project was conducted on “Barriers to Women Political Participation" in 10 provinces of Afghanistan and published by AWCE.[iii] 
The Development and Support of Afghan Women and Children Organizations (DSAWCO) was another Local partner for the Bayan II project between 2015-2016. The project targeted Kabul, Dikondi, Bamiyan, and Herat Provinces. The core activities were:
- Conducted Lobbying on Female Police on regional and International Levels,
- Executed Capacity building program for more than 25 women candidates for the Parliamentarian's Election in 2015,
- Trained ten female journalists and more than 35 young female reporters involved in Political programs.
- Enhanced leadership and negotiations skills of more than 90 participants as Afghan future leaders for seven days.
- Three press conferences were held in this regard,
- Conducted four photo exhibitions,
- It Facilitated four Events among six female politicians discussing women's political issues, challenges, and solutions.[iv] 
As a broadcasting platform, the Women Human Rights and Media Organization (WHMO) conducted the Bayan II project in 2015-2016. Th WRMO interviewed more than 240 interviewees among members of Parliament, women rights activists, Human Rights defenders, University academic members, and youths on "Women's Political Participation in Election and voting," barriers to Decision-Making and Policy Making, and reducing Violence Against Women in Political platforms." The WHMO Broadcasted Women's political affairs through Radio Bayan Program nationwide. Produced 48 Radio Drama on the following topics:
- Family Barriers Against Afghan Women Political Participation,
- Women's political participation in Government and Parliamentary Elections,
- National Election Legislations. [v] 
[i] Equality for Peace and Democracy (EPD). The Project Report. 2016.
[ii] Fast Relief and Development Organization (FRD). Project Report. 2016.
[iii] Afghan Women Education Center (AWEC). Bayan II Reflection Workshop. 2016.
[iv] Development and Support of Afghan Women and Children Organizations (DSAWCO). Bayan II Refection Workshop.2015
[v] Women Human Right and Media Organization (WHMO). Bayan II Reflection Workshop. 2015.
[i] AWRC. Project summary. 2016.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
- Three Public Speaking Events (OSE) on “Women Social and Political Participations” were held in Balkh province and had around 300 direct beneficiaries,
- Two PSE were held in Herat Province with the same concept. Around 200 Participants benefited from the program,
- Two Training programs were held in Kabul, and central districts on “leadership” Around 40 Young Women between 18-30 ages learned and benefited,
- Around 500 Participants, including Females and Males from Universities and communities, were direct beneficiaries of the project.,
- The FRD recognized a community-based mechanism (Big Gathering) much effective in increasing the numbers of women in Social and Political Participation. That mechanism resulted in positive impacts in getting awareness about Women's Rights across the country,
- Women's Social and Political participation as one of the components of Democratic Governance should be taken into consideration,
- The presence of Women in social and political platforms reinforced gender equality in the communities and created a peaceful environment for everyone to benefit from equal Opportunities and available resources.
- Around 65 female police forces participated in the program and benefited from the intuitive. By the certation of the toll efforted to counseling with female prisoners in Bamiyan, Balkh, and Punjsher provinces,
- Conducted awareness campaigns to the female police forces on “Career opportunities and recruitment for female police in Police forces,”
- Supported female police victims by counseling through 6464 toll-free,
- Responded to the Female police force needs through collaboration with the Ministry of Interior (MoI).
- Trucked the Female Police cases of abuse and violence through 6464 toll-free,
- Conducted capacity-building programs to enhance participants' knowledge of "Women, Islamic codes, and national Laws.
- Expanded collaborations with the Afghan Government authorities on the "Significant of Female police force protections and its impact."
- At Bamiyan University, 110 Students participated in the awareness workshop,
- More than 5000 job opportunities and employment for female police after the campaign had been increased,
- More than 45 abused and violence cases of Female police forces had been recorded and reported to the ministry secretariat for further investigations,
- Around 30 participants from Bamiyan's Council and 250 school students from 11-12 grades benefited from training programs. [i] 
- Increased Employment and job opportunities,
- Brought positive change in the female police forces' conditions.
- Enabled and encouraged Women to be much more active in the political participation process and Elections,
- They enabled Women to understand their fundamental and Political Rights as Afghan citizens and strive for substantial changes/Development at regional and international levels.
The Bayan II project Challenges:
AWRC faced particular challenges while conducting the project, as follows:
- Security Concerns in Kapisa, Laghman, and Nangahar provinces made the process delayed,
- Weak governance and sometimes unwilling support of Afghan Authorities towards Women's affairs projects in Afghanistan.
- Security Concern was the challenges towards the project implementations across the country,
- Weak Management of the Ministry of Interior on Female police forces and their education intuitive.[i]b 
- Weak Coordination among the de facto authorities regarding the project.
[i] Women and Peace Studies Organization (WPSO). Bayan II Reflection Workshop. 2016.
[i] The Afghanistan Capacity Development& Educational Organization (ACDEO). Bayan II reflection Workshop. 2016
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Women present half of the population of Afghanistan and have been facing systematic Gender inequality, and patriarchal governance has reinforced the issues consistently. Since 2001 Afghan Government and its international allies have been affording to promote public participation as a significant Component of Democracy and facilitated Gender and Women's Right affairs by establishing Gender Departments and projects to respond to the needs. Lack of funding, weak governance, and professionals were the core challenges.
Gander Concern International and its local partners efforted to promote gender equality by conducting Bayan I and II projects in Afghanistan. The program reports indicated the level of positive impacts on women's affairs, Particularly, on the political participation level. The effects were not at the national level but also strived to raise Afghan Women's voices to international platforms. Thus, Increasing the number of Female Police forces in the Afghan National Army and reinforcing women politicians for potential participation in national Elections were remarkable achievements. Furthermore, involving Local communities and religious leaders in this collaborative intuitive was another highlight to increase the project's positive effects. It led the Afghan community to a substantial change regarding gender equality.
 Gender Concern International. Annual Report.2014.
 Gender Concern International website page: http://www.genderconcerns.org/vision/
 Gender Concern International Website: http://www.genderconcerns.org/launching-bayan-ii-project-in-afghanistan/
 Gender Concern Website: http://www.genderconcerns.org/news/inception-of-bayan-ii-afghanistan/
 Afghan Women’s Resource Center (AWRC). Bayan II Project summary. 2016.
 Equality for Peace and Democracy (EPD). The Project Report. 2016.
 Fast Relief and Development Organization (FRD). Project Report. 2016.
 Women and Peace Studies Organization (WPSO). Bayan II Reflection Workshop. 2016.
 The Afghanistan Capacity Development& Educational Organization (ACDEO). Bayan II reflection Workshop. 2016.https://acdeo.org
 Afghan Women Education Center (AWEC). Bayan II Reflection Workshop. 2016.
 Development and Support of Afghan Women and Children Organizations (DSAWCO). Bayan II Refection Workshop.2015.
 Women Human Right and Media Organization (WHMO). Bayan II Reflection Workshop. 2015.