Wazhma Frogh

Ms. Frogh co-founded the Research Institute for Women Peace & Security (RIWPS-Afghanistan).

“If Afghan women are supported and stood with, they will be able to institutionalize and make these changes more sustainable in the decade of transformation, in the next 10 years”. – Ms. Frogh

Ms. Frogh has devoted more than a decade of her life to empowering Afghan women and children through constant advocacy, campaigning and project implementation for improved human rights conditions in Afghanistan.

In early 2012, Ms. Frogh co-founded RIWPS-Afghanistan along with a former Member of the Afghan parliament, Sabrina Saqeb, to focus on women’s grassroots mobilization and empowerment for the peace process. The Institute was conceptualized during the 2010 Peace Jirga and the 2011 Loya Jirga in which thousands of Afghan representatives participated to envision the peace process. Women’s inclusion was a struggle in both jirgas primarily because of the perception that issues of peace and security are not relevant to Afghan women.

RIWPS has started engaging the communities with the provincial level peace councils so that people’s perspectives of peace and security are integrated into the implementation of the peace process locally. That means that RIWPS started a process of facilitating regular dialogues and hearings with the local community representatives, women groups, youth and other social groups with the local governments to create a regular communication and also to reconcile people’s perceptions of peace and government’s plans for building peace.

Ms. Frogh believes that until and unless the local conflicts are not resolved, and local communities particularly women who are more central in the local conflicts are not empowered; political deals do not bring sustainable peace in Afghanistan. Therefore, RIWPS is building conflict resolution expertise among women leaders at the local levels through these Provincial Peace Councils and other platforms, and taking the voices of the communities and women into the peace process nationally.

Ms. Frogh, reflected that “in May 2013, we held one of the first National Youth Debate with over 500 young Afghans asking the government accountability around the peace process and the final message from every young Afghan was that ‘listen to our voices before insurgents recruit us’”.

After several years in Peshawar, Pakistan, Ms. Frogh says: “when I started experiencing the hardships that women and children went through being in a refugee camp, I realized that I had to do something”. Ms. Frogh started working with the most vulnerable women and children in refugee camps in Peshawar, Pakistan. At age 17, she started a career as a writer, reporter, and social activist, contributing weekly updates to The Frontier Post Newspaper about women and children living in refugee camps in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Ms. Frogh reflects, “I found my way into the non-profit world by working with organizations that supported refugees and then got into the organizations working inside Afghanistan”. In 2001, Ms. Frogh returned to Afghanistan and continued with empowering women and children at the community level to national, regional and international levels. Conducting one of the first-ever gender reviews in the most remote areas of Afghanistan in Nuristan province in 2002, Ms. Frogh embarked on an empowerment mission for rural and urban Afghan woman.