Afren supporting women in Baderash
In November 2012 Afren fully furnished and equipped the Shazada Women’s Centre and the Kurdistan Women’s Union. Both centres are now furnished to accommodate sewing, language and IT classes, which are run by female volunteers. In order to achieve their aims of educating and training women, the Shazada Women’s Centre and the Kurdistan Women’s Union run a variety of activities in Bardarash. The focal point of both organizations is to support work opportunities, while promoting equality in the workplace. These NGOs also receive support from the government.
The Kurdistan Women’s Union is a diversified organization that not only covers Bardarash, but also its sub-districts. Its headquarters are located in the city of Dohuk. The organization has grown to seven main branches, distributed in Dohuk’s districts of Zakho, Amadia, Sumel, Akre and Shekhan. Each of these districts has its own branches, totalling 24 branches throughout the Dohuk province. All the volunteer workers who run the centres are locals.
Shazada is also an exciting organization. Its chair, Chinar Saleh Barani, has this to say:
“Our membership is now over 500. Before we had only two sewing machines between almost 50 students, but, thanks to Afren’s support, we are now able to increase the number of admissions to our sewing classes. Afren has also equipped classrooms with desks, chairs, laptops and printers. This means that there are now sufficient facilities for over 100 students to participate in IT classes.”
The establishment and the existence of the Kurdistan Women’s Union can be dated back as far as the early 1950’s. Since that period, the organization has grown enormously. However, the Women’s Union wasn’t formally recognized as an NGO until 2007. In Dohuk it is also referred to more formally as ‘Dohuk Governorate Council, Kurdistan Women Union’.
The Union’s Vision
The Kurdistan Women’s Union is a non-governmental, democratic organization for women. It tries to assure, secure and protect women’s rights, while also raising educational standards.
The organization’s main target is to achieve equality in Kurdish society for women, including, but not limited to:
- Eliminating violence against women
- Helping women to gain self-confidence in today’s job market
- Tackling illiteracy – educational, social and technological awareness through delivery of seminars and workshops
- Encouraging women’s talents and hobbies
- Giving training classes in computers, internet, driving, sewing, fitness, first aid and make-up
- Eliminating discrimination between men and women in the field of education.
Afren’s External Relation Manager, Reza Khaleghi who heads the Kurdistan community projects, stated:
“We are very pleased to have supported the two women’s organizations in Bardarash and we are very impressed with the dedicated women who run the centres. They have demonstrated true entrepreneurship and leadership. We are also grateful to Sardar Barzandji, the Mayor of Bardarash, for introducing us to the NGO’s and would like to thank him for his continued support. Our CSR officer, Hishyar Bamarni, has offered his tireless support on the ground; for that, we are also truly grateful. Final thanks go to Afren’s Middle East Managing Director, David Kennedy, for his vision and support for the projects. Afren is keen to encourage support for women-owned businesses in Iraq. With this in mind, we are delighted to be the sponsors of the inaugural issue of Nina.”
Afren plc is an international, independent, exploration and production company, with a Premium Listing on the London Stock Exchange, and a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Afren has a production-sharing contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government for the operation of the Bardarash concession, in addition to its diversified portfolio across 11 other countries: Nigeria, São Tomé & Príncipe JDZ, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Madagascar, Tanzania, Seychelles, Kenya and Ethiopia.