UNDP and UN Women Join Hands To Launch Online Community on Gender Issues in Afghanistan
Kabul: Now solutions for any gender practitioners in the country are only a text message away. Solution Exchange Afghanistan’s Community of Practice (CoP) for Gender Equality, an online network of practitioners and professionals working on women’s empowerment, gender equality, and increasing the role of Afghan women in peace building, governance and development, was launched here today by the Community’s co-conveners, UNDP and UN Women in Afghanistan .
Solution Exchange is a UN-sponsored service that connects development professionals with similar interests, sharing their knowledge and experience to find practical solutions to development challenges. The Gender Equality Community joins two other Afghanistan Solution Exchange Communities, for Municipal Governance and Development Community and Sustainable Resources Management. Solution Exchange was first introduced in India in 2005 and now has 15 active communities in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and the Pacific region in addition to Afghanistan. So far 25,000 development professionals have addressed more than 1,100 policy and programme issues.
“Solution Exchange connects people with common interests to share their experience, free of charge, and prevents them from having to re-invent the wheel. We hope this can make an important contribution to Afghanistan’s development efforts in the critical area of gender equality,” said Alvaro Rodriguez, UNDP Country Director in Afghanistan.
The Gender Equality Community launched in Afghanistan today will be addressing the priorities of the National Action Plan for Women in Afghanistan (NAPWA), the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS), and other national mandates. Members will be sharing their experiences, contacts and advice on issues such as gender based violence, gender justice, security, health, education and political participation of Afghan women in decision making processes, particularly at the sub-national level. The Community is co-convened by UNDP and UN Women Afghanistan, and is facilitated by a two-person team located in the UNDP premises.
“There are many activists and advocates in Afghanistan, as well as civil society organisations and institutions, working independently towards improved gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Solution Exchange will improve those efforts while also bringing together a critical mass of engaged individuals and institutions to increase the volume of their voices on these key issues,” said Ingibjorg Gisladottir, UN Women Country Representative in Afghanistan.
A key goal of the Community is to leverage and expand Afghanistan’s existing pool of expert knowledge in this area and to help people learn what has worked in Afghanistan as well as in the rest of the world. Members include:
- Political authorities, planners and policy-makers concerned with implementing the National Action Plan for Women of Afghanistan, and other agreed strategies
- Community leaders and activists concerned with women’s empowerment
- Field workers from NGOs, government agencies or private sector implementing gender programmes and projects
- Programme Officers of foundations and other donor sponsors of gender initiatives
- Researchers or academics in gender-related fields
- National and international specialists knowledgeable on gender equality issues
- Youth Associations concerned with gender
- Media group and journalists
- Other professionals interested in women’s empowerment and gender equality
In most countries, Solution Exchange functions mainly by email. In Afghanistan only 12 percent of households have access to a computer, and access is particularly limited in rural areas. However, nearly three quarters of the population use cell phones, making this the most widely available means of interactive communication. Solution Exchange Afghanistan therefore also offers services via cell phone. “Off-line” members call the Facilitation Team, who share information and connect them with other experts by phone. Written messages are distributed by e-mail, text messages, or fax, in English, Dari and Pashto.
For further information e-mail the Facilitation Team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or access the Solution Exchange website: http://www.solutionexchange-un.net/afghanistan/. Media contacts for UNDP Afghanistan: Kumar Tiku, email@example.com