In Afghanistan, Imams (Mullahs) are highly influential in shaping society and can be key allies in tackling gender inequality. To promote the rights of Afghan women, WISE collaborated Jamila Afghani, NECDO’s Director of (NECDO) Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization to develop an Imam training program for—religious leaders—on women’s rights.
In 2009, WISE and NECDO focused on training and mobilizing local Imams from populous neighborhood mosques. NECDO conducted the training with the Imams on Muslim women’s rights and patriarchal violence associated with marriage, women’s inheritance, Muslim women’s ownership and property, and Muslim women’s political and social participation.
Specific attention was given to the prevalence of violence in Afghanistan, distorted Quranic scriptural interpretations, national laws and instruments on women’s rights, international human rights instruments on gender, and strategies for change.
In November 2009, the program focused on training and mobilizing Imams from twenty influential and populous mosques. The Imams met regularly at NECDO to learn about patriarchal violence associated with marriage, inheritance, ownership and property, and political and social participation.
The initial success of the program enabled WISE to extend the project for another year in twenty Kabul mosques, and to replicate the project activities in throughout the 34 provinces of Afghanistan.
The program acted as a life-changing experience for the Afghan communities and served as a beacon of hope for women across the nation.