Afghanistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women, yet the country has 3,958 women police officers, a ratio of one police woman for every 3,537 women.
Frequently shunned by their communities, and sometimes their families, the current stigma associated with female policing in Afghanistan has led to women being killed because of their job. Eroding this terrible stigma, and recruiting more women into the police force is therefore critical for the safety of Afghan women, and for improving the overall stability of the country.
Second lieutenant, 24-year-old Yasamin Sarwari currently serves as a female police officer in the Afghan National Police (ANP). This was something she felt the country needs after witnessing the suffering of women in her community.
With the support of UNDP’s SIVAS project, Yasamin was trained at the Sivas Police Training Academy (SPTA) in Turkey for six months and began her career as a police officer in the Criminal Investigation Directorate of the MoIA.
Afghanistan’s current population is over 40 million, and while a force of 4,000 women police may seem small, the provinces of Nuristan, Logar, Paktika, Paktya and Panjshir have no women police officers at all.
“In the beginning, it was very difficult to work as a woman police officer but my mother who also served as a police officer, motivated me to serve the country by fighting for women’s rights”, said Yasamin.
“Women working as a police officer is unacceptable in our community, I faced lots of difficulties, and I was threatened to death, but still I love my job, and I want to show everyone that I will not give up and fight against wrong thoughts”.
Yasamin is now a breadwinner, and supports eight family members. As the eldest child, along with her job and duty to provide for her family, she is also continuing her studies. Yasamin is studying for a bachelor’s degree in Law and Political Science.
Women in Afghanistan play an equal role as men in public service and work towards peace, prosperity, and sustainability in the country. Thousands of women police officers currently serve the country as security sector actors in police ranks.
Women police officers are also financially supported to complete their education with educational fees through a range of scholarships extended to the MoIA, the support targets both women and men. Through UNDP’s Support to Payroll Management project (SPM), the MoIA is supported with relevant short term capacity building programmes.
“After I lost my father, my mother was the only supporter of the family, now I feel proud. as I can generate income and support my family.”
“Now I have financial and legal independence, I encourage Afghan women to join the police force and serve the country equally as men.”
Since 2011, UNDP is supporting the Afghan police force in the management of the payroll, to ensure it functions effectively and efficiently. More than 1,668 policewomen have been trained at the SIVAS Police Training Academy and in March 2019, UNDP facilitated the eleventh term of the female ANP training programme, with 248 female recruits on board. UNDP also facilitated the first Training of Trainers (ToT) programme with 20 female enrollees at the SPTA, which took place in October 2018.
With generous funding from the Government of Japan, the SIVAS Policewomen’s Training aims to increase the number and quality of policewomen within the ANP. UNDP in collaboration with the relevant Directorates and Departments (Gender, Recruitment, Training, Human Resources and Personnel Administration), ensure implementation of all activities identified within pre-training, training and post-training phases of the female police training conducted at the Sivas Police Training Academy. In addition, with generous funding from the LOTFA donors, the Support to Payroll Management (SPM) project works with the MoIA on non-fiduciary aspects of payroll related operations and functions for the ANP and the General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Centres (GDPDC).It is through the SPM project that Yasamin and fellow police officers receive their salaries and related allowances while serving in the ANP.