Afghanistan Project

Mina’s List Afghanistan Project

Since 2014, Mina’s List has been partnering with women political leaders and women’s rights and peace advocates in Afghanistan. Mina’s List Afghanistan program provides political training and capacity-building workshops, long-term mentorship, and cutting-edge technology to help aspiring Afghan women candidates run for political office on a women’s rights and peace platform … and WIN!

Listening Session

In June 2015, Mina’s List held a 3-Day Listening Session with female members of the Afghan Parliament and Afghan women’s rights activists to identify the unique and specific barriers to women’s equal and substantive political participation in politics.

Empowerment Workshops

In December 2015 and in June 2018,  Mina’s List partnered with the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) , Afghan Women’s Educational Center (AWEC) and UN Women Afghanistan to run two week-long political training and capacity-building Empowerment Workshops. These workshops helped prepare 50 aspiring Afghan women candidates, representing 32 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, run for parliament on a women’s rights and peace platform. More than a dozen civil society leaders and government officials participated in the workshops as program trainers and 15 female Members of the Afghan Parliament attended as mentors for the aspiring new candidates.

The Empowerment Workshop curriculum was based on the outcomes from Mina’s List Afghan Listening Session and included trainings on: women’s rights under Afghan national and local law; International laws on women's rights; Afghan election law; political economy & gender-sensitive budgeting; good governance and corruption; Afghan parliamentary procedures and process; women's coalition-building; effective public speaking; campaign skills and fundraising; effective use of the media, social media and new technology, and personal security training.

Mina’s List 2015 Empowerment Workshop participants

During the workshops, Mina’s List partnered with American comedian Amy Poehler Smart Girls online platform to feature video interviews of several of the women participants, including newly elected MP Farzana Kochai.

Two-Year Mentorship Program

Mina’s List’s Mentorship Program brings together current and former Afghan women parliamentarians to serve as mentors for the aspiring women candidates who participated participating in the training program. As Mina’s List mentors, the women parliamentarians commit to mentor an aspiring woman candidate throughout her tenure as an elected official, helping to navigate unknown parliamentary procedures, processes, and customs. During the Empowerment Workshops, Mina’s List Mentors participate in a Mentorship training program, and then work hand-in-hand with their aspiring candidate mentee to provide practical experience and support as she embarks on her political journey.

Mina’s List 2018 Empowerment Workshop participants

Key Outcomes:

  • Mina’s List trained 50 Afghan women to run for parliament on a women’s rights and peace platform.
  • 37 of the women who participated in Mina’s List training and mentorship program became official candidates in Afghanistan’s 2018 national elections.
  • 8 of the Mina’s List trained candidates won new parliamentary seats!
  • 5 of the 8 candidates won races in Taliban controlled areas
  • 2 of the women candidates who won were under the age of 30
“I joined this wonderful program to encourage women, especially young and educated women, to participate in politics. I gave them some advice and direction on how to run for election and how to be a successful politician in the future.”
— ELAY ERSHAD, Member of Parliament + Representative for Kochi Tribe

“We have built a network here; the aspiring women candidates, women parliamentarians, and women activists. I hope these workshops continue in the future. We seriously need women’s self-driven activism all over the world, and in particular in Afghanistan.”
HALIMA ASKARI, newly elected Member of Parliament for Wardak province

"These workshops...created a network among women in different provinces. It gave us the chance to learn from the experiences of current parliamentarians. We learned about the importance of coalition building...and we need Mina’s List’s continued support in order to run and win the elections."
— MAHBOBA SADAT, Aspiring Candidate for Balk province

“The Listening Session was the first time that I had the opportunity to hear what the women political leaders need from civil society to advance women’s rights through legislative action. After connecting with the women parliamentarians though this program, I feel confident that we can build a coalition together and work in unity to advance women’s rights.”
MARY AKRAMI, Executive Director of Afghan Women’s Network