Empowering Girls in Afghanistan

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Empowering Girls in Afghanistan


We’re continuing our partnership to empower 500 more girls through early marriage prevention and furthering educational opportunities!

Why Afghanistan?

According to recent data from the UN Population Fund, nearly 57% of girls in Afghanistan are married before the legal age of 16. Sahar’s schools in the Balkh Province serve a mixture of cultural groups who all participate in the customs of early marriage for various reasons: bride prices, bringing money into poverty-stricken families, bride exchange, child engagement, and “honor” situations. All of these practices contribute to girls dropping out before finishing secondary school.

Afghan girls and their families are demanding greater access to education in their war-torn country. Since the removal of the Taliban, millions of children have entered the school system, many for the very first time. Girls are still substantially under-represented among the students flooding the Afghanistan education system. As the system is slowly rebuilt, there are still large gaps. Sahar works to close those gaps and get more girls in school.

ODW + Sahar

Last year, our partnership with Sahar provided educational resources to 480 girls. We are continuing our partnership for a second year to empower even more girls through the Early Marriage Prevention Initiative. This initiative works to increase knowledge and awareness of early marriage and laws among the 500 girl participants and to change attitudes and perceptions about early marriage prevention for students, families, local elders, school principals, and religious leaders. This program also encourages students to communicate with their parents about the issue of early marriage, empowers them through leadership and self-esteem training to stand up for their legal rights, and introduces them to female role models who can inspire their future goals. Sahar also collects data around the current conditions of early marriage and causes in this population and works to build an effective, replicable curriculum that breaks down the barriers of early marriage in girls’ education that can be used in other schools in Afghanistan.

The main goal of this initiative is to decrease the instances of student dropouts due to early marriage in our target population and learn the most effective interventions for preventing early marriage dropouts in order to replicate these tools at other schools. The program will indirectly impact more than 7,600 people, including family members of the girls directly impacted, community, religious, and school leaders who engage in the curriculum with the girls, and other students at the school who will be exposed to the curriculum secondhand from the students and teachers involved.

Join us as we continue our partnership to empower 500 more girls through prevention early marriage and furthering educational opportunities! The progress bar above includes our intended match amount of $15,005 for a total granting goal of $30,010.

Meet Shakila

Shakila is a 9th grade student and participated in the Early Marriage Prevention Initiative. She says “This program has had a very positive effect on me. I learned about early marriage and its negative impact. We should not get married when we are underage because it can have many adverse outcomes in our life. First, it will cause me not to be able to continue my education. Second, it can cause birth problems for my future children after marrying too young. Also, I should fight against this unappealing culture and violence against women in society. These issues are critical to me. This program has brought many changes to me. I should be an influential person in my life to be a successful person and not to be hopeless from failures and not accept defeat until reaching my goals. I want to be an influential woman in the future to set a good example for others.”

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