Afghanistan Women Council

September 11, 2023 hamrazm
September 7, 2023 hamrazm

AWC, a non-governmental organization founded in 1986, aims to improve the socio-economic status of Afghan women and children through various development activities.

Mission and Purpose

Afghanistan Women Council (AWC) is a non-governmental, non-political, non-profit and non-sectarian charity organization founded in 1986 to empower Afghan women and children. The organization primarily focuses on improving women's socio-economic status and enlightening them through their involvement in different development activities. AWC is registered as a charity NGO with the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It has been running various activities for Afghan refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan, since 1986, and it has also been operating a hospital in Kabul since 1992. AWC is registered with the Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women Affairs UNDP, UNOPS, and WFP as an Afghan NGO and with the Ministry of Justice as a social organization.

The core goals of AWC are to improve the living conditions and strengthen the health, education, and socio-economic status of women and children in Afghan society. They aim to accomplish this through their involvement in development activities, which include:

- Securing women's civil and social rights based on Islamic principles and Afghan culture and traditions.

- Creating understanding, cooperation, and harmony among Afghan women on national and international issues.

- Advancing the place of women in Afghan society.

- Encouraging and promoting education for Afghan women at the national level.

- Improving Afghan women's social, economic, health, and cultural conditions.

- Establishing friendly relations with similar organizations around the world.

- Providing opportunities for women to actively educate the next generation in the rehabilitation and development of Afghan society by building their capacity.

AWC is committed to working effectively within its mandate, mission, and objectives for Afghanistan and its people.

Origins and Development

Afghan women have always played a crucial and active role in the fight for freedom. Many brave Afghan women have fought against invaders throughout history, becoming a glorious part of the country's history. These events are unforgettable and will serve as a source of encouragement and inspiration for future generations.

Given the immense suffering that women in Afghanistan faced during the resistance against the Soviet occupation, it is necessary to ensure that they have full access to fundamental human rights. The Afghanistan Women's Council was established to advocate for better conditions for Afghan women and increase awareness of human rights, women's rights, refugee rights, children's rights, peace-building, and democracy issues within the Afghan context. It is worth mentioning that the AWC has received four international awards for its performance in these areas since its establishment in 1986.

Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding

Fatana Ishaq Gailani is the organization's Founder and President, with over nine members serving as acting directors, managers, trainers, and advisers on the board. She is also the Human Rights Director of the organization. This organization has received funding and support from various entities, including the World Food Programme, War Child Canada, the Canadian International Agency, the Development Organization of the Czech Republic, the European Union, and the Department of International Development. [i]

[i] Afghanistan Women Council. Success for our Motherland tomorrow. Better lives for our people today. Official website:

Specializations, Methods and Tools

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Before establishing each Women's Committee, the project team overcame the target community's unique social and economic barriers. Customs were observed to ensure community support for the action, and local communities were involved in the establishment process. Community experts were hired for the program, and they conducted sensitization workshops and awareness sessions and efficiently mobilized elders and other members of local families. Additionally, they advertised the project's activities and benefits to gain more support from the community. advertising the project's activities and benefits.

Major Projects and Events

AWC has undertaken several major projects, including Basic Education, which aims to empower women in Afghanistan. As part of this effort, children are encouraged to attend school, freeing time for their mothers to take classes. The curriculum covers a range of topics such as literacy, math, health, parenting, conflict resolution, peace-building, environment, community leadership, rehabilitation, human rights, women's rights, the rule of law, transitional justice, good governance, civil society, democracy, peace development, and reconciliation. In addition, AWC specializes in Community Development, Health, Alternative Livelihood Programs, and small and medium-sized Enterprise Development. Since 1986, thousands of Afghan women have been taught and empowered through these programs.

One of the primary issues faced by women is the lack of education. Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates for adult women worldwide, resulting in a lack of understanding of fundamental human rights and gender equality. This makes women feel less confident and unable to participate actively in public and private spheres.

Furthermore, traditional practices that prevent women from directly interacting with male purchasers and traders negatively impact their ability to start productive businesses. These challenges and a lack of necessary skills often leave women alone to handle household problems. Consequently, community-level issues are given lower priority than individual problems.

Healthcare: Mother and Child Health Clinic:

The Mother and Child Health Clinic commenced its services in 2000 to provide healthcare facilities to 25,000 low-income families in the Shahrak Khurasan area of Kabul. Despite the lack of support from any donor, the clinic successfully continued its operations until 2002. Eleven dedicated staff members provided their services for 10 hours daily without compensation. They visited 60-80 mothers and children daily and provided them with lab tests and proper medication.

Psychosocial Support and Counseling:

Psychological support and counselling are essential for maintaining good mental health. The AWC offered individual and group counselling sessions to promote self-esteem and self-confidence. The counselling sessions also aimed to improve interpersonal and inter-group relations. The AWC also provided support for managing stress, anger, and grief. [i]

Relief & Rehabilitation

AWC has been actively involved in providing relief and rehabilitation services to the people of Afghanistan. Mainly, AWC has provided relief aid to 1,000 women during winter. Additionally, AWC has been supporting many more women monthly. Furthermore, AWC has completed a relief project in Paktika and Parwan Provinces. The project provided clean drinking water and necessary materials for shelter and food to 500 families. This project was initiated in 2002 and has proved to be very helpful for the communities in these provinces. In terms of rehabilitation, AWC has completed drinking water projects with the support of the local people. These projects have helped 25 families access clean drinking water by installing a deep well with a hand pump.


AWC has attended conferences, workshops, and seminars on human rights, peace-building, and democracy worldwide since 1993, explicitly concerning Afghan women's issues. AWC provided training courses on human rights, women's rights, peace-building, democracy, and management to Afghan women residing in Afghanistan and the Afghan Refugee environment in Peshawar, Pakistan. AWC conducted seminars and workshops to raise awareness among women regarding their rights and unite them to amplify their voices. This helps them secure their rights in society, starting from the family level and moving up to high positions in government.

The Afghan Women's Council (AWC) has played a crucial role in encouraging women to participate in the presidential and parliamentary elections, a significant step in promoting gender equality in the country. The AWC has also raised concerns about the country's violation of human and women's rights to the President and cabinet members. The council has organized several meetings with high-ranking officials to discuss national and international issues.

Moreover, the AWC has regularly reported on human rights abuses in Afghanistan and appealed to the international community, such as the United Nations, Amnesty International, and other international human rights organizations.

The AWC seeks financial and professional assistance from individuals and institutions to achieve its goals while maintaining its sovereignty and independence. The AWC is responsible to its partners and communities by providing periodic and annual progress and financial reports and regularly evaluating its activities.

AWC provided several programs to its participants, including Income Generation Training, Vocational Training, Skills Sharing Workshops, and Introduction to Micro-Finance Training. The Income Generation Training included topics such as marketing, management, small business, basic accounting, entrepreneurship, legal and gender issues. Vocational Training offered training in sewing, knitting, handicrafts, soap making, vegetable gardening, sweet and pickle making, and poultry raising. In the Skills Sharing Workshops, women shared knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned in project-related areas. The Introduction to Micro-Finance Training covered features such as an explanation of the structure and purpose of micro-finance, including loans, savings programs, and Village Organizations.


AWC has provided skills training to 5,000 widows and the most vulnerable women in Benehesar, Qala e Musa, Qala e Fatullah, Deh Afghanistan, Kandahar, Parwan, and Jalalabad. These women were able to run their businesses and support their families. To further support economic stability, AWC planned to provide loans to 1,500 widows and vulnerable women in Kabul, Parwan, Kandahar, and Jalalabad. This enabled them to establish their businesses and have a sustainable source of income.

AWC organized several meetings to achieve specific goals. The meetings included:

- Home Visits: Participants and their families were met to explain the program and gain support for women's participation.

- Small Group Meetings: Women worked together as a group, guaranteeing joint loans, repayment, marketing, and supporting each other's businesses.

- Village Organization Meetings: Women formed a community to manage credit and savings and support one another in developing their small businesses.

- Micro-Finance Committee Meetings: Meetings were held for project planning, development, implementation, and monitoring related to micro-finance to ensure success.

- Steering Committee Meetings: The Steering Committee provided greater oversight, overseeing project planning, development, implementation, and monitoring.

- Working Group Meetings: The Working Group meetings included a detailed analysis of women's needs, focusing on vocational training and income generation. [ii]

The Afghanistan Women's Council puts great emphasis on staff development. They train their staff on various topics such as human rights, women's and children's rights, labour rights, peace development, democracy, micro-finance, MF management, office management, women's leadership, accounting, social organization, and gender issues. To further enhance their knowledge, some staff were sent to New Delhi and Sri Lanka to participate in seminars and workshops. The council also conducted various seminars and workshops in Kabul, Parwan, Kandahar and Jalalabad to raise awareness among Afghans, especially women, and to encourage them to participate in the presidential and parliamentary elections. Additionally, AWC is recognized worldwide as a human rights defender organization, and thus, they have actively participated in most of the seminars, workshops, and meetings on such issues. [iii]

[i] Afghanistan Women Council. Success for our Motherland tomorrow. Better lives for our people today. Official website:

[ii] Afghanistan Women Council. Income generation. 2019. Offical Website:

[iii] Afghanistan Women Council. International Support. 2019. Office Website:

Analysis and Lessons Learned


The Research Center for Afghan Women was established in 2000 under the cultural section of AWC. Its primary objective was to conduct comprehensive research on Afghan women's lives' political, social, economic, and cultural aspects. Over the years, Afghan women have been denied their fundamental human rights, and their rights were not acknowledged by the various governments in power. Therefore, AWC decided to establish a research center to raise awareness about this issue and study how Afghan women can effectively regain their rights while adhering to religion, Afghan culture, and traditions.

AWC is reflecting women's issues in its weekly publication, and a research magazine will be published on these topics as soon as the proposal for this project is approved. The center regularly conducts round table discussions with the active participation of women to discuss and evaluate major historical events, human rights, and women's rights. Reports of these discussions are published weekly in local media, and their appeals are passed on to the international community.[i]

[i] Afghanistan Women Council. International Support. 2019. Office Website:

See Also


[1] Afghanistan Women Council. Success for our Motherland tomorrow. Better lives for our people today. Official website:

[2] Afghan Women Council. Right, Peace and Democracy. 2019. Official Website:

[3] Afghanistan Women Council. Income generation. 2019. Offical Website:

[4] Afghanistan Women Council. International Support. 2019. Office Website:

External Links