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Women’s cultural activities 'zero’ in Khost

Women’s cultural activities 'zero’ in Khost

May 14, 2017 - 15:32

KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): Female activists in southeastern Khost province say womeninfo-icon’s participation in culture related activities are almost zero, blaming the situation on the provincial Women’s Affairs Department’s inattention and inefficiency.

Women in Khost do not attend official and unofficial gatherings and poetry sessions and their interest in such gatherings has been lukewarm.

A provincial council member, Wagma Arzo, criticized the provincial Women’s Affairs Department and told Pajhwok Afghan News the department had no program to promote women’s cultural activities.

 “Whenever we hold a gathering, we ask the women’s affairs department for support, but it never assisted us, the door of this department is closed on women,” she said.

Arzo said women’s cultural activities would not improve in Khost unless fundamental changes were brought to the women’s affairs department.

“We had many programs in the past and women were widely participating, but now the women’s affairs department is paralyzed and its activities reduced to almost zero,” she added.

However, a civil societyinfo-icon activist, Bustan Walizai, said some cultural restrictions and security barred women from partaking in social gatherings in Khost.

He said if people worked for public awareness and donors paid attention, women’s participations in cultural affairs could increase.

He also criticized the women’s affairs department for showing no performance and said the department did nothing to support females.

“The women’s affairs department can attract the attention of foreign donors if it tried so, donors have interest in supporting women,” he said.

Human rights official Zarmina Shams said the Afghan government’s attention to women had declined compared to the past.

She also criticized the Khost women’s affairs department and meetings organized by the department had sharply decreased because the department had no capacity to manage programs women.

She feared losing achievements made towards improvement of women’s situation in Afghanistaninfo-icon if no attention was paid.

A civil society activist, Nadia Bawari, said women’s problems could be resolved if the women’s affairs department improved coordination among organizations working for women’s rights.

“It is the responsibility of the women’s affairs department to organize cultural events for females, we want this department to discharge its responsibility,” she said.

Another civil society activist, Zainab Afghan the women’s affairs department should increase awareness about women’s rights and to enable them to attend programs and raise their voices.

Meanwhile, Khost women’s affairs director, Dr. Malalai Wali acknowledged their inefficiency and poor performance. However, she said hundreds of women had participated in meetings and programs her department arranged.

She said her department had put many efforts into cultural development of women in Khost but she needed a strong support from donors.

“Our department’s role is to make policy and evaluate, we have no budget for use,” she said.

Wali said she had shared a proposal with USAIDinfo-icon and some other organizations for support. She hoped the organizations would offer effective programs for women in Khost.

Governor’s spokesman, Mubariz Zadran, said the governor’s house was trying to pave the ground for improvement in women’s affairs.

“We are trying to increase public awareness programs with support from educationinfo-icon and Islamic affairs departments, the governor’s house, Islamic scholars, tribal elders and local media.”

Fifteen cultural and civil society institutes working for improvement in women’s situation have been registered in Khost City and a number of districts, but they have been inactive.




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