Following the demise of the Taliban and in the wake of the establishment of a free and democratic Afghanistan, Women without Borders (WwB) launched and documented the first initiative to support women in their effort to be included in shaping their roles as agents of change and active participants in all aspects of public life. Most women previously had not been afforded the opportunity to build up the necessary competence and knowledge to claim their rightful place in Afghan society. WwB identified an overwhelming desire on the part of women throughout the country to take the future into their own hands. This pivotal moment in Afghan history demanded an approach that could shine a spotlight on and encourage female agency.

With upcoming elections in mind, WwB developed the tailored handbook ‘Our Country, My Role’, which was used in the workshop-based implementation phase of this pioneering project. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) also helped to advance the training manual; it was translated into Dari and Pashto, and ten thousand copies were printed and distributed throughout the country. This Austrian Development Agency (ADA)-funded initiative ultimately presented the first long-term strategy of its kind that supported women’s efforts to participate in political and public life. In cooperation with the Vienna-based Ludwig Boltzmann Research Foundation for Politics and Interpersonal Relations, WwB launched this project in 2003 and implemented it leading up to the 2005 elections.

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