Afghanistan: Palwasha Hassan

I know that securing women’s rights in Afghanistan will be a long process. But I am confident that with diligent collaborative efforts of dedicated men and women we can overcome all challenges.

— Palwasha Hassan

Palwasha Hassan, born in 1969 in Kabul, Afghanistan, obtained a BSc in the Science Program from a government-run college in Islamabad, Pakistan. She is the founder of the Afghan Women’s Education Center, a well-established Afghan women’s organization. She is also a cofounder of the Afghan Women’s Network. As the representative of Rights & Democracy in Afghanistan, Palwasha Hassan is the first Afghan woman to head an NGO in Afghanistan since the establishment of the new interim government in 2001.

Palwasha Hassan has been part of the nucleus of a growing women's movement in Afghanistan. The challenges and improvements relating to the expansion of the Afghan Women's Network are very hard to articulate in tangible terms. These challenges are often subtle, evolving processes that gradually encourage a strengthened relationship across many ethnic, religious, and cultural boundaries. Long-term improvements as a direct result of her work are reflected in the many grassroots women's organizations and projects that received funds to survive, thanks to her efforts. The beneficiaries of Palwasha Hassan’s works are destitute Afghan women and their families who are either unemployed, funded by grants from her organization or impoverished students and community members. She supports a large number of local NGOs in Afghanistan. Among these are organizations promoting the rights of women, gender equality and the empowerment of women. They also include human rights organizations that focus on an agenda of women’s human rights, newly established organizations with projects directed towards the advancement of women’s financial conditions in partnership with, or under the umbrella of, an existing, established organization and initiatives aimed at linking and networking activities.

Afghan Women’s Education Center (AWEC) Afghan Women’s Network (AWN) UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan’s Gender Network (UNAMAGN)