WHAT WE DO:
Raise awareness and increase knowledge on the situation of human rights and development in Afghanistan in Sweden and EU at large:
BRD as rights-based organization and part of Swedish civil society will continue to be engaged and awareness raising on the situation of human right and development in Afghanistan, through improved communication through its social media platforms, organization events and information sharing through participation in the relevant meeting, seminars and conference both in Sweden and EU in order to generate more support for improving human rights and development in Afghanistan.
BRD has completed a comprehensive communication strategy and developed and action for outreaching to a broader audience. Effective communication with key actors and donors will facilitate better relation with BRD existing donor and partners within EU and can also create new opportunities for partnership and collaborations.
Engage in policy advocacy and lobbying concerning human rights and development in Sweden and other key platforms within EU;
BRD is actively engaged and lobbying and advocacy as part of the Swedish civil society to increase support and encouraging more resources for addressing the key challenges in the way of human rights, peace and security and development in Afghanistan.
BRD has been actively participating in the civil society consultation process for the new 4 years strategy for Afghanistan by the government of Sweden, organized by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and Folk Benedetti Akademie (FBA).
BRD will soon join the CONCOD Advocacy Platform through which BRD will have access to the European Union. BRD is also engaged in advocacy and lobbying in Geneva, recently we have been engaged with ISHR and other key players for providing civil society prospective in the criteria and activities for the recruiting special reporter on Human Rights Defender.
Afghan diaspora program in Sweden
More than five million Afghan nationals are residing outside their country of origin, forming a growing number of Afghan diaspora organizations that implement activities in the fields of integration, awareness raising, human rights and humanitarian aid and aim to contribute to peacebuilding, reconstruction and the solution to the conflict4. According to Statistics Sweden, as of 2016, there are a total 34,754 Afghanistan-born immigrants living in Sweden. Of those, 28,049 are citizens of Afghanistan (17,602 men, 10,447 women)5. There are many individual professionals as well as many companies and organizations run by Afghan diasporas in Sweden. If mobilized they might have great potential for contribution to achieve sustained peace and development in Afghanistan.
The lack of vertical and horizontal linkages, both among the afghan diasporas, Swedish civil society, development cooperation and non-existence of a mechanism or network that can improve and facilitate these linkages as well as mobilize, or and coordinate the engagement of Afghan diasporas in the development cooperation, identified as one of the key challenges by the participants. Creating Afghan diaspora network, can mobilize and facilitate the effective engagement of afghan diasporas in the development activities for Afghanistan, which can add extra resources to the development cooperation and will also provide real insight on issue related to Afghanistan in major policy dialogues and discussions, including media within Sweden. The network will also include a pool of Afghan experts, which can also be used as sources of information and expertise on issue relevant to Afghanistan.
The Network of Afghan Diasporas in Sweden is envisaged to be a mechanism through which afghan diasporas in Sweden will be able to actively engage in development cooperation to contribute toward building sustainable peace, humanitarian work and socio-economic development of Afghanistan and serve as platform for effective lobbying and policy advocacy on issues related to Afghanistan in Sweden, in collaboration with other key actors.
The roles and functions of the Network of Afghan Diasporas in Sweden include the following: Develop, strengthen, and support the engagement of Afghan diasporas in peace and development in Afghanistan in collaboration with the relevant institutions, private sector and civil society, both in Sweden and Afghanistan; Facilitate the exchange of knowledge and information, and sharing of best practices among the diasporas, individual experts, companies and organizations; Advocate and lobby for resources and aid polices on Afghanistan that address the real needs and priorities of Afghan people; Raise awareness on the situation of human rights and development of Afghanistan and improve knowledge, better understanding of the culture and values of Afghan society in Sweden; Build capacities and encourage continuous human resource development for Afghan diasporas to enable them for professional engagement in their relevant work; Serve as an information network and/or as consultant/facilitator and provide advice or information related to Afghanistan as well as Afghan diasporas in Sweden and/or facilitate promotion and marketing of Afghan diasporas work; Coordinate fairs, exhibitions and other activities as a means of promoting afghan culture, needand priorities and services of the diaspora organizations; Develop and maintain the Network’s website and regularly issue publications to facilitate communication among the Network’s members and other stakeholders;
The diaspora network TOR has been developed, outlining the purpose, objectives structure and function of the network. Consultation discussion, have been made with some diaspora organizations, Swedish organizations, such as Forum Syed, Ax Foundation, Mumtaz Integration, Danish Refugee Council, and it was also highlighted in the Network meeting. SIDA head of Unit was also informed about the initiative and also ToR was shared.
We have identified potential diaspora organization and we also received the list from DRC, we will consolidate those lists. The next step would be to organize the first diaspora meeting to discuss and finalize the ToR and establish the network: The challenges are:
- Funding to support the first meeting to bring organization from different part of Sweden, we have approached DRC, Post Code Foundation for support but it was not successful.
BRD current activities in Afghanistan are focused on 3 key programs:
Human Rights Education; Environmental protection and climate change education, new program “Keep IT Clean Plan” which focused on advocacy, education, capacity building; Building Capacity for monitoring the government commitment towards follow-up on the recommendations of UN human rights mechanisms; And protection and safeguarding culture heritage through community-based mechanism.
Demanding accountability from local governance: training and supporting local CSOs in monitoring service delivery, social audit, networking and partnership building among CSOs and the provincial councils; Water Governance: Implementing participatory irrigation management program, through capacity building of community-based organizations for their effective engagement in service delivery and participate in the water governance. 40 grants for CBOs to improve local irrigation governance and infrastructure; Access to information and advocacy for Civil Society participation in the decision-making process.
Working with vulnerable, street children and vulnerable youth to provide their families with livelihood option that they attend schools. Livelihood improvement of women through kitchen gardening and other vocational activities to enable them for supporting their families, the programs focus is not on IDPs.