Islamic Scholar and Social Activist, Afghanistan

Jamila Afghani is director of the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organzation (NECDO), a local Afghan women’s NGO serving women, youth, and children. The NECDO is dedicated to building capacity and leading educational activities. Since 2000, Jamila has been working as an activist in the area of gender and human rights from an Islamic perspective and a consultant with national and international organizations in management, strategic planning, and monitoring and evaluation. She raises awareness of issues surrounding women’s rights within an Islamic perspective through media, round tables, group discussions, workshops, and seminars.

Jamila believes that social mobilization for positive change towards women will be the key instrument for paving the way for gender equality and that Islamic teachings are essential to influencing human behaviour, especially in a cultural-based society like Afghanistan. She holds a Master’s degree in International Relations & Shari’a Law from Peshawar Pakistan.

In collaboration with the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality, Jamila created the first holistic gender-sensitive imam training program in Kabul and the surrounding areas. In its initial form, the program has resulted in a series of khutbas (Friday sermons) in twenty of the city’s influential mosques. An Islamic scholar herself, Jamila has also proposed the creation of an Islamic institute for women in Afghanistan, so that more women can access their own tradition to strengthen their understanding, protect themselves from injustice and violence and play a greater role in national affairs. In her own words, “Even our women parliamentarians could not play a major role for women’s life improvement [so far] as they could not argue with male parliamentarians from Islamic values, and women’s mouths get shut when they don’t have Islamic justifications.”

Jamila is the recipient of the Tanenbaum Peacemaker in Action Award and the appreciation award from the Clinton Global initiatives for mobilising imams and promoting basic human rights, in particular women’s rights. She has also received an award from the ministry of women’s affairs in Afghanistan in 2012 for her work on women’s rights.

BASED IN: Kabul, Afghanistan
LANGUAGES: Pashto, English, Arabic and Persian.