Afghans for Civil Society supports civic involvement in public policy and community decision-making. After years of warlords abusing power and oppressive regimes, it is important for the future of Afghanistan to foster civil society and cooperation after so many years of war.
ACS, in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy, has started several programs to develop fair public policies:
- Organized and facilitated training for the first Provincial Shura in the province of Uruzgon
- Helped the 54-member shura members develop three main areas of focus: security, reconstruction and monitoring of the provincial government
- Collaborated with local Afghan government officials on community issues
- Provided election training for shura members seeking a seat in the Provincial Elections for Parliament.
Afghans for Civil Society also conducts research on policies and issues affecting Afghan citizens and participates in conferences and lectures to educate the world on obstacles Afghans face in their lives.
Reports and Studies
In 2005, Afghans for Civil Society conducted a research project on public health for women and children, in conjunction with ACS’ vitamin distribution aid program in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The vitamins for this program were generously donated by U.S. organization, Vitamin Relief.
Security concerns have caused several NGOs and other health organizations to depart from Kandahar, leaving Kandahari hospitals and clinics empty of much needed supplies, physicians and basic medicines to perform life-saving procedures. Women also fear leaving their homes to seek medical attention.
To reach the women and children, ACS’ Hameeda Hameed visited women’s homes and distributed vitamins, conducted public health surveys and gave home-based lessons on nutrition and health.
Hameeda wrote in a report:
Kandahar, where you see life in its simplest form, people have seen violence and brutality on such a large scale that they have never considered basic essentials like proper nutrition, personal hygiene, and health education, which are considered very important—even vital-- in developed countries.
The program included vitamins distribution, teaching the importance of nutrition and personal hygiene to women and children. While I was there, I noticed that women were not allowed to go outside; therefore I chose to go and give them visits myself.
ACS was able to bring the multivitamins and folic acid to 104 women and 93 children. The method of distribution was door to door and word of mouth. The educational material regarding nutrition was provided by UNICEF - charts showing how to practice disease prevention and also proper cooking methods, as there is a large illiteracy rate in Afghanistan these were done through pictures. Verbal education was also utilized by ACS in emphasizing the importance of proper diet and nutrition.
ACS was limited by the amount of pharmaceuticals that it could send due to lack of outside funds and donations, hence if more involvement was to take place larger groups of women and children will benefit from the program.
Full findings from Hameeda’s research, including her personal narratives, are available on ACS’ Health Initiative’s page. If you are interested in helping ACS provide essential health supplies to Afghan citizens, learn how to assist in our Humanitarian Aid Shipments organize a lecture or fundraiser or and get involved in keeping Afghanistan in our hearts and minds.
Afghan Newborn Initiative
In Afghanistan, 165 new infants die for every 1000 births and maternal mortality is about 60 times that of industrialized countries, with an Afghan mother dying every half-hour on average. Most children in Afghanistan die today because of ineffective health care rather than injury or war. To date, Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal, infant, and child mortality rates in the world.
To help fight these tremendous odds, Afghans for Civil Society has launched, in partnership with Ellyn Elizabeth Cavanagh, Ph.D., MN, CPNP, a Newborn Infant Resuscitation Program for midwives and mothers. The establishment of an Afghan Newborn Initiative is a vital effort to protect the most vulnerable humans in civilization—newborns.
The Newborn Infant Resuscitation Program will begin in June 2007 and will:
- Provide resuscitation training to fulfill the demand for this public health service
- Expand the limits of life by providing space, equipment and knowledge for the deliverers of essential life-saving care.
- Centralize education and equipment
- Establish a standard of life-saving health care throughout the area to serve newborns.
The ultimate goal for this program is to raise neonatal resuscitation practice in urban Kabul to Western standards and serve as a model for other Afghan provinces. It is most cost-effective and capacity building to spend resources within Afghanistan, training Afghan physicians and developing a network to build recipients’ capacity to provide infrastructure for problems.
The beneficiaries will be the unborn children who will be added to the chain of survival. Get more details on the Newborn Infant Resuscitation Program; learn more about Ellyn Elizabeth Cavanagh, Ph.D., MN, CPNP at the Health Initiative page and how to support this program and other ACS initiatives.
Conferences and Lectures
ACS staff has attended conferences around the globe in efforts to educate others about the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and gain expert insight on current ACS programs.
“Cultural Understanding for a Civil Society”
United Nations Association – UN Day
Oct. 7, 2006: Tampa, Florida
“Advancing Democracy: Justice, Pluralism and Participation”
World Movement for Democracy – Fourth Assembly
Presented on “Beyond Failed States: Civil Society in Transition”
April 2-5, 2006: Istanbul, Turkey
“Sui Dhaga: Crossing Boundaries through the Needle & Thread”
Craft Council of India
September 9-15, 2005: Delhi, India
Silk Road Style Trip
Business Council for Peace (BPEACE)
May 20 – June 9, 2005: New York, USA
Women and Islam Study Tour
The Asia Foundation
January 26 – February 5, 2005: Indonesia and Malaysia
USAID & Thunderbird University
January 9 – 21, 2005: Glendale, Arizona – USA
Conceptualizing Women’s Human Rights
Rights & Democracy
December 16 -21, 2004: Lahore, Pakistan
If you are interested in arranging a lecture with ACS staff, email our staff.