Our work in the human rights sector focuses on equal access to rights and services by empowering people to be aware of and exercise their rights for access to basic services such as education, healthcare and the justice system. MEHRO takes a rights-based approach to development for enabling an environment in which human rights can be enjoyed by everyone in Afghanistan, regardless of age, ethnicity and gender. MEHRO believes that human rights-based establishment can prevent many conflicts based on poverty, discrimination and exclusion. In the framework of this approach, MEHRO targets marginalized and disadvantaged groups in its projects coming from the poorest un-priviledged segments of Afghan society.
- Raising awareness of women rights and freedoms
One of these groups that MEHRO gives a particular attention to are women who have a long way to go to enjoy equal rights and fundamental freedoms in Afghan society. The same is also true for schooling and access to the job market. UNICEF estimates that as much as 3.6 million of children do not attend school in Afghanistan; out of this worrisome number, more than 60% are girls. However, the higher the educational level, the more this percentage increases.
In order to address the gender issue in Afghanistan, since its very beginning MEHRO designs, plans and implements projects dedicated to capacity-building workshops in all fields of activity and vocational trainings that will increase women’s chances of career progression and professional fulfillment. A great number of women could develop their skills in traditional crafts like for example tailoring and carpet weaving but also in administration and business management.
Furthermore, MEHRO tries to raise awareness of gender-based violence and the lack of women’s safety in public places. For this reason, women from the local communities are provided with trainings on issues including peace, Islam and the societal role of women, Gender based violence (GBV) and violence against Women (VAW). One of the last projects that MEHRO successfully implemented aimed at increasing safety and security of urban women in Mazar-e Sharif though awareness raising on this issue and development of an action plan.
- Empowering minorities through capacity-building trainings
Afghanistan is a country where various tribes and ethnic groups live side by side. Thinking, however, that these communities coexist without tensions and conflicts would be an illusion. In this sense, the under-represented minority ethnic groups face many difficulties and threads from bigger and more powerful groups. One of these groups is the Hazara minority with Mongoloid face features, long time persecuted during the Taliban regime due to their adherence to Shia Islam in comparison with Sunni Islam of the majority of Afghan people. Taliban rule may be over but the social position of the Hazara people has not improved much and they are currently considered as one of the poorest and the most powerless groups in Afghanistan.
In this context, MEHRO brought its support to Hazara people through a one-year long project in Bamyan province that is predominantly a Hazara province. This project aimed at building capacities of women, students, teachers, religious leaders and community leaders from both rural and urban areas. Its objective was to teach participants about legal concepts and restorative justice in order for them to be aware of their rights and how to defend them. MEHRO wishes to implement more projects designed to empower Hazara people at the socio-economical level.
Likewise, MEHRO carried out vocational and capacity-building trainings that were meant to help Turkmen people, both men and women, to acceed to the labor market in Jawzjan province. Turkmen people are another discriminated category in Afghanistan who try to obtain greater freedom to exercise their culture in Afghanistan, like for example being able to study in their mother tongue rather than in Dari language.
- Providing support to internally displaced persons
In the war-torn country that Afghanistan is, forced internal displacement became a frequent phenomenon. Many people left their homes fearing for their life or due to food shortage but did not receive a warm welcome from the people in the host region, equally lacking means and proper nutrition.
These internally displaced persons were, together with women, one of the most important target groups for MEHRO given the urgent aspect of their situation. To tackle this issue, MEHRO provided for them at many occasions literacy and vocational trainings and organized food distributions.