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Focus on Fellows

Hanifa Girowal

Ombudsman Assistant, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission

UNITAR Hiroshima Women’s Leadership Programme for Afghanistan: Governance and the SDGs 2018 – Participant

As a human capacity trainer herself, Hanifa expanded her knowledge and toolset through UNITAR Hiroshima's training programme while visiting the 'City of Peace' in Japan. She was one of the twenty participants for the UNITAR Hiroshima Women’s Leadership Programme for Afghanistan: Governance and the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), visiting Tokyo and Hiroshima in early December 2018.

Hanifa touring Hiroshima Peace Park

Hanifa Girowal is an Ombudsman Assistant at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Their current projects focus on developing the security forces in Afghanistan and training police officers. Her own work is very similar to what UNITAR Hiroshima does – capacity building and educating people, especially on human-right-related issues.

Hanifa believes training female police officers is extremely important to do, especially in the context of Afghanistan. “Women are the vulnerable group in the society, so are woman officers in security forces,” said Hanifa, “we have to further support these officers in order to ensure the security of all Afghan women. Then, there can be more protection and promotion of human rights.”

UNITAR’s Women’s Leadership Programme for Afghanistan examined essential concepts for the development of organizations and of leaders, which include social accountability, governance, gender equality, and the SDGs. Along with key concepts introduced, Hanifa said, throughout the programme, she became more engaged in capacity building and learned more about how projects are implemented in real life. She expressed her wish to help her country develop their own policies based on the SDGs and empower women, using the knowledge she had learned at UNITAR Hiroshima.

Before the establishment of the new government, there were no women officers. In the past years, women are very enthusiastic and are coming to join the security forces. Gender equality training is given to male officers as well, inspiring them in thinking about how to support their female colleagues at work and provide them with a safe working environment. Hanifa explained her take on gender equality training, “woman empowerment is also teaching women to create their personalities at workplaces. Then, we can make effective efforts towards the development of Afghanistan together.”

Hanifa at workshop of UNITAR Hiroshima WLP 2018

Hanifa was moved when she saw the story of Hiroshima, how people overcame difficulties through motivation and solidarity. She wanted to bring the knowledge she learned here and the story back home. “To a peaceful Afghanistan, the war and insecurity stay in the history. We can pass down the lessons learned to the next generation. Make a better future for children of Afghanistan.” This is Hanifa’s vision of the future. The UNITAR Hiroshima Office looks forward to seeing her progress in Afghanistan.

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Photos: Hanifa at workshops of the UNITAR Hiroshima Women's Leadership Programme for Afghanistan: Governance and the SDGs 2018.