INL Women's Programs in Afghanistan
Violence Against Women (VAW) Units: VAW Units are specialized Afghan units dedicated to prosecuting crimes against women. INL will support six new provincial VAW Units (in Balkh, Kapisa, Kunduz, Nangarhar, Parwan and Paktia) in 2011-2012, and continue to support the national VAW Unit at the Office of the Attorney General in Kabul. The Kabul VAW Unit is staffed by 18 Afghan prosecutors, and has initiated 586 cases from 22 provinces since opening in 2010, resulting in five convictions so far.
Justice Sector and Corrections System Support: Through INL’s Justice Sector and Corrections System Support Programs, Gender Justice Advisors conduct specialized training for legal professionals and Afghan officials on women’s rights. In 2010, 284 women participated in justice trainings and events. Corrections advisors have trained 133 female Afghan corrections officers. INL also provides a dedicated mentor to the women’s prison in Kabul, where over 130 women are incarcerated.
Shelters for Women and Children: INL is the single largest donor to women’s shelters in Afghanistan, funding 6 of 14 total shelters (in Badakhshan, Faryab, Kabul, Kapisa, Kunduz and Saripul). INL also funds two Children’s Support Centers (in Balkh and Kunduz) to provide housing, education and essential services to children of incarcerated women, and opened a Halfway House in Kabul. In August 2011, INL contributed $6.3M to the Colombo Plan, an international organization, to establish the Afghan Women’s Shelter Fund, which will provide support to shelters and launch emergency initiatives, including a 24-hour national hotline and crisis fund for victims of gender violence. Combined, INL’s shelter programs benefit over 1,000 women and children per year.
Support to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA): INL has provided over $250,000 of equipment and infrastructure support to MOWA, and supports a full-time Afghan legal consultant at MOWA’s Legal Department, which is responsible for case management and treatment referrals for abused women.
Legal Aid: INL funds Legal Aid Organization of Afghanistan (LAOA) offices in 15 provinces, making LAOA defense attorneys available in 23 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. In 2010, LAOA provided legal aid to over 2,000 women and juveniles. INL also supports Global Rights’ Legal Aid Bureaus at Family Law Courts in four provinces.
Women’s Drug Treatment: INL funds six residential drug treatment centers for women and adjacent centers for their children (in Kabul, Balkh, Herat, Badakhshan, Farah and Nangarhar). INL trains Afghan women addiction counselors and is developing a gender-responsive substance abuse treatment curriculum.
Legal Education: INL has sponsored professional exchanges for Afghan women judges since 2004, and provides members of the Afghan Women Judges Association with specialized legal training and networking opportunities. INL also supports legal fellowships, and gender justice and family law curriculum for Afghan Law and Sharia students at universities in Herat, Nangarhar and Balkh provinces.