Malala Fund is working for a world where every girl can learn and lead.
In the last two decades, millions of Afghan women and girls received an education. Now human rights and education advocates fear that progress is under threat. The Taliban — who until losing power 20 years ago barred girls from attending school — are back in control. Thousands more girls may be forced to marry or take on domestic labour. Young women who resist may face violent retribution.
Malala Fund and our co-founders, Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai, have spent the last two weeks advocating for leaders and the international community to open borders for civilians from Afghanistan, increase humanitarian aid and invest in the creation of a process to track and investigate violations of the rights of women and girls. We also want to ensure all young people can continue learning — no refugee child should be out of school for more than three months.
“Our focus is to ensure that the world responds to the needs of girls and women in Afghanistan,” says Philippa Lei, Chief Advocacy Officer at Malala Fund. “We welcome the new funding pledges a number of governments made this week, but more must be done. To ensure this money brings meaningful impact, leaders must put in place a robust mechanism to monitor the evolving situation and seek advice from Afghan girls and women — they know what they need and are best placed to advise the international community on its approach to help."
Amid reports of increasing security concerns, Malala Fund suspended all grant requirements in July and informed the advocates we work with that the funding could be redirected to the safety and security needs of them and their staff.
Malala Fund initiated our work in Afghanistan in 2017 with close to $1.9 million invested in local organisations. This work has focused on addressing a nationwide shortage of female teachers through recruitment and improving education quality and learning outcomes by investing more in teacher training development.
“In the days before Kabul fell under Taliban rule, we convened our Afghan Education Champions on a call with our co-founders. They spoke about their experiences and the actions they want leaders to take, and we reaffirmed our commitment to them and their work,” says Suzanne Ehlers, Chief Executive Officer at Malala Fund. “With courage and conviction, the educators and activists have changed the lives of so many girls in Afghanistan — we will look to them to inform our approach as the crisis evolves.”
Malala Fund will continue to monitor the situation closely. We are committed to our partners in Afghanistan and the thousands of Afghan girls that their organisations support — and remain steadfast in our mission to ensure girls have access to free, safe and quality education.