Herat Women Protection Center

The project was first established in 2003 by UNHCR on a temporary basis for at risk women returning to Herat from neighboring Iran. VWO took over this responsibility and maintained the facility for three months with the financial assistance from UNHCR.  In order to provide more and better services to those at-risk women, UNHCR and VWO made a joint effort to secure funds for this particular project and finally the Embassy of Denmark in Kabul provided funds in October 2005. The project was established on strong footings and the very first ever women protection center for at-risk women was put in place in Afghanistan. The project is currently funded by US State department’s INL wing (International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs) through Colombo Plan for a period of 2 years. VWO is making efforts to secure long term (5 years) funding for the project for sustainability.

Family Guidance Center

The family guidance center is an integral part of the above mentioned Herat Women Protection Center project and is established in the main office of VWO in Herat. The main objective of the project is to reduce the violence against women through family counseling and protect women and girls from abuse by resolving petty issues at the very beginning. The family guidance center provides legal and psychosocial counseling, legal support and has a prominent coordination and collaboration mechanism with relevant government and non-government stakeholders in the region. The project enjoys a good reputation among the society and other stakeholders as it provides services to more than 100 families every month.

Badghis Women Protection Center

Badghis Women Protection Center project has been established in Qala-i-Naw city at two separate buildings, the shelter also referred to as the Women Protection Center (WPC), where at risk women and girls are given refuge and is only accessible to female staff members of VWO and Family Counseling Center (FCC) or Family Guidance Center (FGC) since October 2009.  The project is currently funded by US State department’s INL wing (International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs) through Colombo Plan for a period of 2 years. The Women Protection Center project provides accommodation, food, living facilities, legal and psychosocial counseling, legal support and vocational trainings to at risk women and victims of human trafficking. Efforts are then made to find durable solutions to resolve their cases through proper channels and reintegrate them safely back to their families where they can continue to live as normal and dignified citizens of Afghan society. A Coordination and Cooperation Committee (CCC) is also established to facilitate resolution of complicated cases and prevent human trafficking. The project has significantly benefited at-risk women and victims of human trafficking. Therefore, the project needs to be sustained on long term basis.

Ghor Women Protection Center

The overwhelming number of cases in Herat Women Protection Center from other provinces of the region was the driving force behind VWO’s decision to establish similar Women Protection Centers in other provinces as well.  In October 2012 VWO established Women Protection Center projects in Ghor and Farah provinces with the financial assistance of IDLO/INL through Colombo Plan. Initially funded for two calendar years, the projects hold invaluable importance for the women’s rights issues in the Western region. Both the provinces are extremely backward and under the influence of hardliners where blatant violation of women’s rights is a norm.

Farah Women Protection Center

The overwhelming number of cases in Herat Women Protection Center from other provinces of the region was the driving force behind VWO’s decision to establish similar women protection centers in other provinces as well.  In October 2012 VWO established Women Protection Center projects in Ghor and Farah provinces with the financial assistance of IDLO/INL through Colombo Plan. Initially funded for two calendar years, the projects hold invaluable importance for the women’s rights issues in the Western region. Both the provinces are extremely backward and under the influence of hardliners where blatant violation of women’s rights is a norm.

Nimruz Women Protection Center

In order to address the needs of victims of violence and other at risk women in Nimruz province, VWO established its sub-office in Zaranj city, the center of Nimruz in 2013. A contract was signed with USAID for the establishment of a Women Protection Center there. The province shares borders with neighboring Iran and thousands of returnees and deportees cross the border and enter Afghanistan on a regular basis. Among the returnees and deportees there are women who are in dire need of such a facility there. Initially funded for two calendar years, the project will complete the chain of shelters for at risk women in western region of Afghanistan in terms of protection of women’s rights, reduction of violence against women, rule of law and women’s access to formal justice.

Legal Advice Center (LAC)

Legal Advice Center (LAC) was established in Badghis province on January 2014 funded by USIP and currently funded by INL through Colombo Plan to provide free legal assistance to the vulnerable and disadvantaged women/girls seeking access to justice. LAC is also aiming to improve community members’ knowledge of violence against women, increasing the level of information of women/girls and their families about their rights and increasing the active participation of women to the community based forums within Qala-e-Naw, Abkamary, Qades and Moqor districts of Badghis province in accordance with project agreement. Currently LAC has 7 project staff including two defense lawyers, two social workers and one project coordinator. The lawyers provide legal advice, referral to support services, and court representation before judicial and administrative bodies and institutions.

LAC project defense lawyers focus specifically on providing early response advice and counseling to mitigate the escalation violence in the family through complementary mobile legal clinics and community outreach activities conducting by the two social workers in Qala Naw and other three mentioned districts. The main office of LAC project is located in VWO Sub-Office Badghis with a second department inside DoWA for the purpose of legal advisory services and coordination of activities with DoWA and a new branch of LAC is to be established inside the city court very soon to provide free legal services to the clients who introduced through the courts.

Legal Advice Bureau (LAB)

Established in July 2011 with financial aid from Global Rights for three years, to provide legal assistance to women and girls seeking access to justice. The project was a huge success during its first three years after which INL took over and funded the project through Colombo Plan when Global Rights’ legal projects ended in Herat. Currently LAB has three lawyers and one provincial project director. The defense lawyers provide quality legal advice to a wide range of clients on family and criminal issues but only process and represent cases at the court that meet the project criteria that are family cases. LAB is located inside the family court building and is working closely with senior legal advisors from Herat family court and persecutors from Herat attorney general’s office and Herat directorate of justice.

SPA for SGBV Victims – DRC

Social protection project is an EU funded program targeting internal displaced population in west region started from early October 2014 up to 31 January 2017. The program has been leading by Danish Refugee Council-DRC and implementing by VWO. This project has six main target areas including Kamar Kalaq, Dashkhana, Shagofan, Imam Fakhr, Karizak and police station areas of the Herat city with most IDP settlements.

The program provides legal trainings, awareness sessions, child protection programs and outreach activities. Besides mentioned activities, PPC trainings are also conducted for the sustainability of program post funding period and mobilize community people to provide services to their own people.

Afghan Women Leadership Initiative (AWLI)

Afghan Women Leadership Initiative (AWLI) project started in October 2015 in Herat city, it’s designed for 24 months and funded by Department of States (DoS) for the purpose of empowering Gender Based Violence (GBV) affected women who lives in Women Protection Center (WPC), to create opportunities for them;

  • To achieve economic independence,
  • To build their leadership skills, and
  • To Increase sustainability of WPC.

VWO is proud to assist these affected women to achieve the mentioned objectives through implementing of designed and planned activities by establishing food catering and bakery training and production center, handicrafts training and production center, financial literacy, empowerment coaching, and professional training programs. Affected women learn vocations and how to budget for their economic needs towards independency, they get empowerment and leadership sessions to connect to their personal power and self-confidence, and they also participate to work in established production centers to gain financial income for WPC sustainability where a safe place for other GBV affected women to survive.

Organizational Supports for Women’s Rights Protection (OSWRP)

VWO has received funding support through Action Aid Afghanistan, primarily from SKY foundation for strengthening mission objectives of Voice of Women Organization by supporting organizational management through building capacities and system. The funding is expected to help VAW victims to find access to justice and develop organizational /staff capacity for VWO.

OSWRP project was designed for 3 years. The first phase of the project started on July, 2013 and accomplished on July, 31, 2014. Within the first phase of the project the below outlined activities were planned and achieved successfully

  • VWO staff Capacity Building Trainings.
  • Translation and Orientation Training on Manuals
  • Conduct of Baseline survey in 15 villages of Ghor province on cases of domestic violence such as (forced marriages, child marriages, honor killing and human trafficking)
  • Translation of VWO manual (HR, Admin, Procurement and Finance) into Pashtu language
  • VWO staff Capacity Building Assessment and planning for sets of trainings for staff

The second year of the project effectively started from March, 1, 2016 and will be ended on February, 28, 2017 with below specific objectives and activities.

  • VWO staff capacity building/ Organizational development (policies and procedures)
  • Increase awareness on women’s rights issues in Ghor province