Engaging Marginalized Women in Afghanistan in Decision Making and Accountability

Authored by: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Categories: Human Rights, Humanitarian Emergencies
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Human Development, Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Country: Afghanistan
Region: South and Central Asia
Year: 2022
Citation: "Engaging Marginalized Women in Afghanistan in Decision Making and Accountability." United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. June 2022.

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Executive Summary

This OCHA Afghanistan initiative provided an opportunity for older women, widows, women with disabilities, single women who head households, and other marginalized women to help design a community feedback system for the humanitarian response. It also offered lessons on involving marginalized people in response decision making. The approximately 100 women who participated in eight Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and workshops in late 2021 and early 2022 in Balkh, Bamyan, Herat and Nangarhar provinces overwhelmingly expressed a desire to be heard by humanitarian responders and appreciation at being engaged. Even though most women brought family documents with them to make their case for assistance, they accepted the explanation given at the beginning of the workshop that their participation was about them contributing to the greater good of women like themselves. The OCHA AAP advisor in the workshop was approached by only one woman after the sessions who asked for aid for her family.

This report will be given to the Inter-Cluster Coordination Team (ICCT) so that relevant recommendations can be acted on quickly for women in communities impacted by the recent earthquake in Paktika and Khost Provinces, and to the AAP Working Group’s Feedback-Response Mechanism sub-WG to inform a guidance note it is writing on a community feedback channel. It also will be shared with OCHA Afghanistan, which sponsored the workshops, and UN Women, which has agreed to conduct more as needed. Those UN agencies also could support utilizing the recommendations and, therefore, the women’s input, in the emergency earthquake response.