Cooperation Center for Afghanistan, Mazar-i-Sharif (CCA)

CCA works for promotion of human rights, the rule of law and democracy as well as sustainable development in Afghanistan.

CCA Mazar was established by a group of Afghan volunteer intellectuals in 1990, during the struggle against the installed Kabul regime and Soviet invasion force, as a project to protect human rights, sovereignty and the integrity and historical values of Afghanistan, applying methods such as conflict resolution and family mediation programmes.

Vision and mission

CCA's vision is of a situation in which human rights are understood, respected and monitored by the people; the society is governed by the rule of law and on the basis of democracy and human rights; and target communities have reached a sustainable level of social and economic self-autonomy.

CCA works for the promotion of human rights, the rule of law and democracy as well as sustainable development in Afghanistan. These two goals are inter-linked and mutually supportive.

For sustainable development CCA follows an integrated approach, undertaking projects and activities that are directed towards empowering the poor. CCA is committed to the mobilisation and maximum use of local resources.

Through activities such as conflict resolution and family mediation workshops and seminars, advocacy campaigns, refugee education, human rights monitoring, and rural community development, CCA promotes citizen-based sustainable development, democratic values, pluralism, the rule of law and women’s participation.

CCA works for and with women, children, returning refugees, disabled people, displaced families and victims of human rights. CCA also aims to strengthen the capacity of public services providers, community workers and development practitioners through its capacity building programmes.

Safe house

Case Management: Family violence can take many forms such as denial of the right to education, physical and sexual abuse, forced marriage and child marriage. Violence in the family sphere is traditionally perceived as a purely private issue and women and girls who experience violence are often unable or afraid to report the problem to the authorities. If they leave their family environment they risk criminal charges, incarceration, and stigmatisation from the community

Why a safe house? The CCA safe house in Mazar-e-Sharif was opened in April 2007. The safe house can currently host a maximum of 25 women and 10 accompanying children. Six CCA community workers are at the Safe House during working hours to provide counselling to the women and coordinate mediation sessions with relatives. Such meetings take place at an agreed time at the CCA office.

To ensure the safety and privacy of the victims, the Safe House has 24hour/day security. Residents are responsible for general house-keeping tasks and receive weekly vocational training (handicrafts).

The safe house is a place where victims of family violence who are not safe in their family environment can find shelter and support, as a measure of last resort. Trained community workers provide continuous counselling to all safe house residents, locate relatives and facilitate family mediation whenever the victim is ready. At the safe house, women can get support in full confidence and reflect on life decisions without pressure or stigmatisation.

Mediation approach

CCA takes a mediation approach to cases of family violence. This means that dialogue is facilitated over weeks and months between the victim, the victim’s family, any relevant State authorities and community or religious leaders. Mediation aims at reconciliation and at allowing the victim to return to normal life safely. Women and girls in Afghanistan cannot live outside a family structure. Options vary depending on the case (going back to the husband‘s house; going back to birth family‘s house; separating and remarrying a different person). The ultimate decision rests, however, with the victim herself.

Conflict Resolution and Family Mediation

CCA run training sessions aimed at building the skills of practitioners who come into contact with victims of family violence and are involved in mediations in their daily work. To achieve this aim, training topics relevant to mediation were selected and illustrated through examples, case studies and exercises in order to qualify the training participants to take action in solving local conflicts. The participants use their prior experiences and link them to what they have learned in this training in order to respond to family violence in a non-violent way.

Since the start of the project the training team conducted conflict resolution and family mediation training in six coverage area, Jawzjan, Sar-i-Pul, Samangan, Faryab, Baghlan and Balkh provinces.

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