Women Empowerment Centre (WEC) of Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education
Women, in Afghanistan, have been marginalized and their rights have been significantly ignored throughout history. Their positions, in the society, are shaped by cultural and traditional roots of gender discrimination. Hence, there is an excessive need for a consistent, evolutionary, and positive movement for creating an enabling environment for these women to actively take part in every social, political, and economic spheres of life in Afghanistan.
Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education (GIHE), as part of its mission to create greater space and opportunities for women, has established the Women’s Empowerment Center (WEC) in March 2011. Since then, the center has played a considerable role in ensuring women`s participation in the academic life of GIHE.
WEC is strongly committed to improve education and employment opportunities for female students, incorporate gender equality requirements in GIHE academic programs and other activities, and facilitate capacity building opportunities for women and female students.
The center pursues the following objectives; the provision of extra-curricular capacity building opportunities for females to learn essential skills for their chosen careers. Development of a sustainable model for women and gender studies programs in Afghanistan. Become a leadership center for Afghan women.
One of the main activities of WEC is providing scholarships for girls with academic potential who lack the financial ability to pursue higher education. WEC’s Scholarship Program was initiated in 2011 along with its establishment, and since then, around 200 scholarships have been granted to female students from different parts of the country to study in Gawharshad.
English and Computer Courses
WEC is also providing special English and Computer Skills classes for female students in Gawharshad. The aim of these programs is to assist students with better performance and to equip them with skills that will assist them in getting employment upon their graduation from Gawharshad.
To raise the awareness of the students on women’s rights and violence against women, WEC holds short term training programs as well as workshops, seminars and competition programs among students. More than 100 students have received the trainings in so far conducted programs.
Gender and Women Studies Academic Courses
In order to open the path for gender and women’s studies programs in the Afghan higher educational system, WEC has initiated an academic course on gender studies in 2012. This initiative will assist WEC with creating the base for the gender studies department in the near future.
Consultation Center for Women
WEC is performing as a consultation center for female students where they can share concerns about their educational and personal life and seek assistance from Gawharshad counselors.
The center provides internship programs for GIHE for female students to gain work experience. As a remuneration, the interns are paid monthly in a small scale.
WEC is playing a crucial role in networking and building linkages for Gawharshad at national and international levels. In 2013, a cooperation MOU was signed with UTS, the University of Technology Sydney in Australia.