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Young Women for Change (YWC)

Young Women for Change (YWC) is the first young women’s movement NGO, established in 2011 by two young college students, Noorjahan Akbar and Anita Haidary.

YWC is an independent non-profit organization formed by dozens of volunteer women and men advocates across Afghanistan who are dedicated to empowering Afghan women and improving their lives through social and economical participation. YWC focuses on political empowerment, advocacy, training, and community involvement.

YWC’s vision is to promote gender equality, empower women and increase Afghan women’s social participation.

Anita reflects that:“the current context of Afghanistan is very unstable and economically dependent,” with a lack of rule of law and “lack of governmental interest in the inclusion of women in the sustainability and transaction process.”
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Educating the next generation of Afghans: The story of an ambitious Andeisha

By Mariam Jalalzada

Andeisha, like many, is concerned about the faith of the country in the years to come, especially, the year 2014 when the international troops will withdraw from the country. However, she believes that “the generation of Afghans who were victims of the atrocities of the Mujahedin and the Taliban regime will not remain silent. They will raise their voice and will not easily give up on the gains made in the areas of human rights, rule of law, and economic development.”

The pessimism around 2014 has not yet deterred Andeisha’s commitment and ambitions for a better Afghansitan. AFCECO is fully committed in continuing educating a young and vibrant generation of Afghans. “We will continue to move forward and increase our enrollment and are very optimist and hopeful that the new and educated generation of Afghans will not allow for the events of a not-so distant terrible past to be repeated.”

Since the ousting of the Taliban government in 2001, many Afghan expatriates have returned to their homeland in the hope to contribute to the development of the nation. Some have joined governmental and non-governmental organizations, while others have started their own businesses and developmental organizations. Andeisha Farid, was one of these returnees who returned from Pakistan with big ambitions: to educate the new generation of Afghanistan by providing high quality learning opportunities for children from all kinds of backgrounds—children without parents and those who have parents yet cannot afford to go to school because of extreme poverty.
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Malala Yousafzai addresses United Nations Youth Assembly on her 16th birthday, July 12, 2013

Here is a video link to an address of astounding power, maturity, dignity and pure inspiration, from Malala Yousafzai, the courageous Pakistani teenager who was shot point blank in the head by the Taliban last year for advocating education for girls. But she survived, enduring long hospitalizations and reconstructive operations in Pakistan and Great Britain, where she now lives with her family. She celebrated her 16th birthday on July 12th in a stellar way— by giving this extraordinary address at the UN Youth Assembly to dignitaries and over 500 youth activist from around the world, calling for universal education as a key to a better future.

Gordon Brown, the U.N.’s special envoy for education, helped bring her to New York for this address. She stood there, diminutive, calm and strong, wearing a shawl once owned by Benazir Bhutto, and thanked all the thousands who sent love and good wishes, her doctors, nurses and staff, and all those who have supported her recovery and ongoing advocacy for equality and education.
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Presence and Persuasion: Women’s Communication for Political, Economic and Personal Empowerment

By Marissa Moran, Albany Associates

I recently attended a conference where the word “empowerment” was thrashed about in search of a definition. Western aid agencies like to think they can “empower” women by giving them the necessary tools and services to build a future for themselves, but sometimes it’s even simpler than that.

Different women, from Afghanistan to Libya to America, have different ideas of how they can become empowered in their specific circumstances, from the micro level of personal relationships to the macro platform of political participation. The solution to the empowerment debate lies in local affairs, but no matter the context, communication and the ability to present oneself in a way that makes others listen is key.

Verbal, written, and behavioral communication skills are often considered only for those in leadership positions (maybe that’s how they got there in the first place), but training in these skills should be available to all women in a community supplemented by a network of peers and mentors that allows for easy connections.
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