The wars in Afghanistan have affected the lives of millions. Poverty and illiteracy have increased amongst different segments of the society specially women. They are among the poorest and the most dependent of people. There are an estimated 1 million Afghan widows. Without the protection of a husband, widows suffer from social exclusion in Afghanistan's patriarchal society. Many widows have no choice but to become beggars. For the of women living in poverty, their lives are a litany of injustice, discrimination and obstacles that get in the way of achieving their basic needs of good health, safe childbirth, education and employment.
Overcoming these inequalities and ensuring that women benefit from development requires that the needs and desires of women are not only taken into account, but be put front and center.
To reach all vulnerable segments of communities, women specially, the Afghan Red Crescent
Society (ARCS) is trying to address gender mainstreaming in its programs. It is recognized that
Gender equality is a key factor in the success of humanitarian and development programs. Also, it is a fundamental human right. The purpose of humanitarian and development programs such as those in the national societies (NS) around the world is to prevent and alleviate human suffering and assist those who are most vulnerable. Excluding anyone because of their gender contradicts the fundamental principles and humanitarian values of organizations such as ARCS and stifles the success of development programs.
In 2013, ARCS established a gender department to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of gender mainstreaming strategies in the National Society and to promote and advocate gender and men/women-specific issues within the organization. The department aims to raise awareness on gender issues and promote gender mainstreaming in all aspects of ARCS programs. For this reason, the gender department plans to conduct a gender assessment at ARCS headquarter, regional and branch levels to unpack the issues, increase awareness and provide recommendations for the promotion of gender equality across all levels.
- Ensure organizational commitment and the allocation of resources so that the Gender Policy will be mainstreamed within the organization.
- Raise awareness and understanding of gender issues at all levels of the organization to Achieve gender equality.
- Develop gender mainstreaming policy and strategy
- Promote participation of both men and women as decision makers in shaping programs Across all levels.
- Provide humanitarian assistance to those who are excluded and/or their needs are Overlooked.
- Create and maintain a conducive environment so that women’s and men’s needs can be Openly and freely articulated and addressed.
- Empower those groups who have suffered from gender discrimination and remained dependent and vulnerable.
- Define accountability and responsibility for gender mainstreaming.
- Monitor effective implementation of the gender mainstreaming process.