What is the evidence of the prevalence, trends and drivers of violence against women and girls in Afghanistan? Since 2005, what programmes to tackle violence against women and girls have been implemented by different actors (state, civil society, multilateral institutions)? What have been their successes and unintended consequences to date?
Violence against women and girls in Afghanistan is endemic, widespread and an undeniable reality. Though there have been some quantifiable improvements for women and girls since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, significant challenges remain in securing women’s rights in the country.
Literature on gender-based violence (GBV) in Afghanistan is comprehensive and rich with illustrative case studies that convey individuals’ experiences of violence. The first section of this helpdesk report assesses the prevalence, trends and drivers of GBV identifying factors which may increase women’s susceptibility to GBV, including:
- marital context, i.e. if the female is in a forced, polygamous or child marriage, or if she is wed through baad or baadal;
- both partners are illiterate;
- living in a rural community or in southern and eastern border provinces;
- encountering further violence as a result of attempting to access justice.
The second section identifies programmes relating to violence against women and girls that have been implemented by the state, civil society and international actors operating in Afghanistan. Though a number of activities are identified, very few impact evaluations have been carried out making it difficult to assess the successes or consequences of the programmes. Identified risks and lessons learned from the programmes include:
- project sustainability can be an issue as many international non-governmental organisations have had difficulties in recruiting local staff;
- issues surrounding the security of female staff and clients;
- importance of an effective monitoring and evaluation framework;
- programming should take into account the customary and traditional practices that affect women;
- adaptability and flexibility of programmes due to the constantly shifting political and security environment.
Hinds, R. Violence against women and girls in Afghanistan (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 13 pp.