INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP SESSION
In a country that has been in conflict for 40 years, violence is omnipresent in Afghanistan. Women are all the more affected as they are subjected to gender-specific violence. Indeed, Afghanistan is a traditionally conservative country in which historically, women have rarely participated in political, social and economic decision-making processes. Under the Taliban regime, women were deprived of all their rights and victims of intense repression. In 2009, the Afghan government adopted, for the first time in its history, a law addressing the issue of violence against women, including harassment, forced and early marriage and polygamy. However, social violence against women – whether domestic violence, murder, beatings, mutilation, early marriages, girl marriages to resolve conflicts (baad) – remains a reality throughout Afghanistan, despite the government’s efforts to criminalize these practices. For many women, this violence begins in childhood and continues throughout their lives.
According to the latest report of the United Nations Population Fund, studies on domestic violence in Afghanistan have revealed that one out of three girls victims of forced (58% of women) or early marriage (35% are under 18 years of age, 9% are under 15 years of age – UNICEF 2017) have been victims of sexual violence and 62.5% have suffered physical violence. In addition, approximately 87% of women reported having experienced at least one form of physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage during their lifetime. Women are all the more vulnerable because there are very few places where they can express themselves freely and safely.
Violence against women remains widespread and taboo in Afghanistan despite the government’s efforts. Beyond offering psychosocial support to women (which is very innovative), the greatest challenge of this project is to provoke a change in community attitudes towards gender violence and to anchor good practices. We are taking “small steps” here by gradually transforming mentalities to achieve global and sustainable change.
Since 2011, Afghanistan Libre has been providing psychosocial support on an ad hoc basis. We have seen for ourselves the ultra-positive impact of this support on the most vulnerable women. All our beneficiaries have seen an improvement in their mental health, well-being and self-confidence. That is why, in 2019, we sought to systematize this support in our schools and Health and Education Centers for Women.
The aim of psychosocial support is to support vulnerable Afghan women who are victims of domestic and social violence by providing them with access to individual psychosocial support and group therapeutic activities.
This program allows them to express their feelings freely and in a safe space, the first step towards well-being and self-acceptance. The support is provided by qualified psychosocial counsellors. We employ two full-time counsellors who conduct 2 days of consultations every week in Paghman District and one day in Panjshir province. Individual or group sessions take place in schools, health and education centers and sewing training centres.
By regaining self-confidence, women improve their ability to work, learn, express themselves and protect their rights. Psychosocial support groups will also include community sharing sessions with men in the villages. During these sessions, community members will be invited to discuss social issues that affect the community and women. Afghanistan Libre is convinced that improving the status of women in Afghanistan requires raising awareness among men. Finally, we would like to provide psychosocial support in the form of group and individual sessions for girls in grades 11 and 12 and their teachers in the schools we support.
VILLAGE DE PARACHI
District of Paghman
Village de Dara Zargaran
District of Paghman
VILLAGE DE KHOJA LAKAN
District of Paghman