Domestic violence is a worldwide challenge. NECDO st EVAW with the approval of MOWA and MORA working with Imams to promote Human Rights and Women’s right in 2007. The projects idea was taken more professional shape when Ms. Afghani attended WISE conference in Malaysia, in 2008. Miss. Afghani personally learned that moderating the Imam mind-set would be the most beneficial to the country and people of Afghanistan. With great excitement, Miss. Afghani decided to make this idea a reality in Afghanistan. Through, financial support of WISE.
They had to find 25 Imams that would be willing to cooperate with them. They also had to hire a consultant to draft a booklet on five major basic rights of women from Islamic perspective. The 5 booklets were designed by one of the scholars whom had great expertise on
the issue of women rights. The consultant writings addressed the issue of customs, which has mixed up or has been misinterpreted with Islamic teachings by solid quotations from Quran and Sunnah. The five booklets were shared with 25 Imams in 25 Mosques so that they shared their input. This was a very critical part of the process because NECDO wanted to see if the content made sense at the common level of understanding of the entire community. We also took the viewpoints of the respected WISE friends, and advisors. As we saw that, we evaluated significant changes that were brought and edited.
The Imams were requested to preach these rights in their Friday Khutbas. However, Miss. Afghani had her doubts on whether or not would the Imams collaborate or not. Therefore she came up with a plan to train 30 youths from dormitory of Kabul University coming from different provinces of Afghanistan
at first. Finally, the first hesitant Imams were able to understand that NECDO’s project isn’t in clash with the basic and fundamental resources of Islam (Quran and the Sunnah).
The Imams finally agreed to print the booklets and for it to be vastly distributed among the community. NECDO identified 20 Kabul University students for Kabul and 10 Ningarhar university students for Jalalabad, which later this number increased by the addition of two female in Jalalabad and 4 students in Kabul, to interlink them with Imams in order to pave the way for a better communication between the two groups.
NECDO found great interest among youths to work on this issue with the NECDO team, but they could include 4 other students in the process voluntarily. From the other side, the Fridays of students were best utilized during the project lifetime. In Kabul 5 female monitors were hired to monitor the women sections of the 10 mosques where the space for women was created and 2 female monitors were hired for the two sections of women created in the most
conservative community of Jalalabad.
Their next step was to monitor the Friday speeches of the Imams through the selected students that had received training from NECDO on monitoring, networking, and communication skills. The five issues discussed by Imams were (Right of Marriage, Right of Inheritance, Right of Property, Right of Education, and Right of Mobility) and every other weekly monitoring reports (during the second phase we planned monitoring the mosques based on the request of the imams and giving enough time to the imam to prepare the ground for the women rights issue to speak about on Fridays we sent our monitors twice a month).
From the other side, the Fridays of students were best utilized during the project life time by getting small amount of transportation cost was a good source of income for them at the same time they learned a lot from Imams and the community. At the same time, NECDO was able to enlighten 30 Imams and 30 youths and 12 female youths. These were main tools to provide information for the community with distribution of booklets.
The Success of the Project:
Through this project, they were able to increase the number of female participants in the masjids. Women had gained more confidence to speak about their rights and how it wasn’t given to them. They were also given more freedom to be able to voice their questions without being afraid or ashamed. The imams we worked with belong to different age category,
different provinces initially were believing we were agents of west and suspected us preaching western mentalities, Alhamdulillah now they are only cooperating, but also they accept the mistake why they were not preaching about such things in the past and each one of them are working with other ten imams and in one and half year the circle of imams around us were more than 300 imams.
Working with Imams we found great interest among youths, women and men to work on this project. NECDO taught people to have an open perspective to the rights and wrongs. It allowed people to actually understand their religion.
Working with Imams, youths, women and community allowed NECDO to further work with Imams as they play a vital role in the society. They plan to utilize the energy and influence of the Imams working with them towards more exposure to technical and professionalize
them on Human Rights along with Women’s Right issues.
So far with support of Imams we have worked with multidimensional projects such NECDO has initiated several other projects on Role of Imams on for promotion of Women’s Rights and Human Rights. For examples other initiatives can be found more information on our: website:www.necdo.org.af