Reflections on Dining for Women National Conference, May 4 & 5 2018 – Mahsheed Mahjor, Sahar Fellow

On May 4-5, Sahar attended Dining for Women’s 2018 National Conference in Washington DC. The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted the conference, a wonderful location to discuss topics such as, “The Impact of Violent Extremism on Women and Girls”, “Engaging Men in Advancing Gender Equality”, “Women’s Role in Nonviolent Movements” and “Empowering Girls, Transforming Communities”, just to mention a few. It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of DFW’s 15 years anniversary celebration, the world’s largest educational giving circle dedicated to ensuring gender equality and eradicating global poverty. And we are very grateful for DFW’s $50,000 grant to deepen the monitoring and evaluation elements of our pioneering Early marriage Prevention Program.

The two days at DFW conference was a powerful reminder for us that how critical it is to ensure that girls and women around the world have equal opportunities for growth. They should not only survive but to thrive in their communities, their nations and the world.

Additionally, we are thrilled to share with you that our senior fellow advisor, Airokhsh Faiz Qaisary, was one of the panelists on “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” panel. Airokhsh talked about Sahar’s successes and challenges on Early Marriage Prevention Program, and more importantly about our strategies to overcome the challenges and continue to transform Afghan girls’ lives through our programs.

Airokhsh getting ready for the panel

Here is Airokhsh’s reflection on Anucha Browne’s talk:

There was something about what the Luncheon Keynote speaker said on the second day of the conference that stuck in my mind. As she shared her experience and challenges of being a female and black athlete she said that “women and girls shouldn’t have to just survive but they also should have opportunities to thrive.” I think the reason that it stuck with me is because, many girls that we work with hustle to survive every day. They want to survive daily street harassments, survive forced marriages, and survive poverty. The time that they are at school gives them a chance to thrive and not worry what they will face when they step out of the school compound. Understanding that they can thrive is itself a form of liberation.”

Conference selfie with Anucha Browne, the Chief Strategy and Engagement officer for UNICEF USA, and May 5th Luncheon Keynote speaker

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