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Engaging religious leaders to address gender-based violence

Overview

Religious leaders in Afghanistan have significant power to sway how the population regards and acts on issues such as gender-based violence. To persuade communities to recognize, report and act on gender-based violence, therefore, it is essential that religious leaders are a strong part of that effort.

UNFPA has a longstanding partnership with the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs to train and mobilize religious leaders to speak out on the Islamic arguments against gender-based violence. The partnership has resulted in a book titled Healthy Family, Fortunate Society under the direct supervision of the Ministry, which was formally evaluated and approved in 2011 by the 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar University in Cairo after extensive academic discussion. Over 1,500 copies of the book were distributed amongst religious scholars as a resource for sermons and a teaching tool in religious seminaries. Around 250 religious leaders in the provinces of Nangarhar, Baghlan, Balkh and Herat were trained on Islamic arguments against gender-based violence using this tool.