While it is true that women and girls often have worse outcomes in terms of health, education and quality of life, than their male counterparts, both genders are equally affected by decades of war and conflict in Afghanistan. Men and boys are often overlooked in development programs with more attention being paid to the rights of women and girls. In order to move forward towards achieving better health and education outcomes, we must work together, allying with men and creating communities that recognize the value of both genders. This has impacted the mental well-being and physical health of both men and women, and continues to put immense stress on households and their members.
That is why Sahar, with the financial support of a grant by WomenStrong International, has created a pilot program to include men in gender development that will be more than simply teaching men and asking them to adopt a new way of life. We hope to challenge current perceptions and start planting the seed of new thoughts about gender and women in Afghan society. Many men in the country have never had the opportunity to engage with and discuss the ideas about Fatherhood and Caregiving, Mental Health and trauma, Physical Health and being male champions in their community to bring positive changes, these topics will be presented in the program. By starting and continuing the conversation, we hope this call to action to these topics and see them shared from fathers to their sons, and spread amongst the community.