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UNFPA in consultation with the Ministry of Haj and Religious Affairs (MoHRA) and the Supreme Court (SC) developed a strategy based on which, a small number of religious leaders from provinces and districts are sensitized and trained as facilitators, to form a core group. Strong, credible, and respected figures, these facilitators then conduct sensitization workshops in their locations and train replicators. The trained and sensitized groups of religious leaders and Mullahs will then conduct awareness activities in the villages through normal mosque gatherings or village gatherings.

Over the decades, globally UNFPA has partnered with "agents of change" across faith traditions globally. Agents of change are those individuals in communities, who have leverage with many people and are able and willing to bringing about change in societies. The concept is based on an equal partnership between UNFPA and faith leaders rather than the faith leaders being agents of the UNFPA agenda.

Since 2007 UNFPA in partnership with MoHRA, SC and Ministry of Women's Affairs (MoWA), has campaigned for elimination of VAW and improvement of women's access to (reproductive) health services. This campaign addresses the following issues:

1. Definition of healthy family relationships; Discussion on the relations between couples, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, children and the extended family; illustration of strong Islamic families; practical suggestions for having a healthy family i.e. guidance on how to develop and maintain a functional family unit; common family problems and solutions.
2. Practical suggestions for coping with difficult situations and emotions e.g. strategies for anger management, problem solving, etc.
3. Alternatives to violent behaviour using specific examples: e.g. a series of typical situations where violence occurs and ideas for prevention. Demonstration of the negative impact of VAW on families, communities, and the country.
4. Reduction in Maternal Mortality by means of birth spacing and family planning. Referencing to the Holy Quran and the ‘Hadiths' (teachings of Prophet Muhammad PBUH).
5. Harmful traditions of society affecting women and family life, and how to learn from Islam to improve the situation.
The first sensitization and advocacy workshop took place in December 2007 for 55 religious leaders from seven provinces. This was followed by training 70 religious leaders from ten more provinces and 34 provincial directors of MOHRA, in Kabul in 2008. The second phase was then rolled out in provinces, where the trained religious leaders for all 17 provinces conducted workshops for selected religious leaders from districts in these provinces, and organized awareness activities in pilot villages.

The advocacy and awareness campaign needs to be a continuous process to be sustained over several years, in order to observe any tangible positive change in community behaviour. UNFPA is committed to supporting this project for the coming four years according to the third Country Program Action Plan (2010-2013).

In 2011, based on the approved Annual Work Plan, a baseline study will be conducted to determine the position of religious leaders in communities, on themes such as women rights, domestic violence, birth spacing, harmful tradition, and child marriage, in order to better target the interventions of the program. Based on the findings, UNFPA and MoHRA will develop resource material to help religious leaders address these issues with full understanding, from the Islamic perspective.

UNFPA, in collaboration with partners, has produced and translated a book that highlights Islamic guidance on the above issues. The capacity building of MOHRA staff in management, leadership, monitoring, and data collection is planned, and has been partly implemented.

UNFPA Afghanistan with the support of the Arab States Regional Office (ASRO), and as part of the South-South cooperation, will send a group of authors to Al - Azhar University of Egypt. This group drafted the "Health Family Fortunate Society" book, which contains references from the Holy Quran, saying of the prophet (PBU), and prejudices on the above issues will be reviewed by the Al - Azhar scholars, and will be reconciled to standards agreeable in the Muslim world.

UNFPA also participated in a recent experience exchange with the Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia Country Offices to see how UNFPA Kyrgyzstan works with religious leaders. In the more open environment in Kyrgyzstan and the open enthusiasm of religious leaders involved in trainings there, a more open approach on sensitive topics can be pursued than is possible in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, the challenges to best replicate, scale up, and roll-out widely such programs, remains.