Today, on day four of the "16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence," a global campaign established nearly twenty years ago to combat gender-based violence, Brigadier General Dixie Morrow, U.S. Embassy Kabul Deputy Coordinating Director for Rule of Law, and 50 students from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) discussed the impact of gender-based violence on their communities.
"Gender violence affects women throughout the world," said Brigadier General Morrow, "but by wearing the purple ribbon and participating in the '16 Days' campaign you are helping to raise awareness and to pave the way to a future where violence against women has been eradicated."
Since 2008, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported AUAF through a $42 million cooperative agreement. Stanford Law School's Afganistan Legal Education Project, a university partnership between AUAF and Stanford, works towards developing a legal curriculum at AUAF, while Goldman Sachs' "10,000 Women Initiative" provides business and management training to AUAF under-served women entrepreneurs. In early November, the Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations announced a $5 million grant to AUAF to fund the construction of the International Center for Afghan Women's Economic Development. The 5,500-square-meter center will be the first facility of its kind in Afghanistan to lead and to coordinate both international and Afghan public and private sector efforts to advance the role of women in the economic stabilization of Afghanistan.
The "16 Days" campaign began on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and concludes on December 10, Human Rights Day. Throughout the 16 days, individuals are encouraged to wear a purple ribbon to symbolize their commitment to combating gender-based violence. In addition to the event at the AUAF, sixteen prominent Afghans -- including the Kabul Chief of Police, Olympic athletes, and parliamentarians -- filmed Public Service Announcements to raise awareness about gender-based violence. You can watch these PSAs on the embassy's YouTube Channel.