Hundreds of women students of the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies (KIMS) have been trained in English language, communications and leadership skills since the Alliance for International Women’s Rights (AIWR) partnered with KIMS in 2008. AIWR matches women at KIMS to skilled professionals in developed countries including the United States who wish to use their skills and experience to further women’s education. The skills that women in particular obtain from the KIMS-AIWR education program help them enhance their roles in Kandahar’s communities, increase their participation in social, political and business activities, and improve their political and socio-economic standing within Kandahar’s deeply conservative society. After women graduate from KIMS-AIWR programs, their capabilities and skills allow them to make independent decisions, secure better employment and provide the key necessities of life not just for themselves, but for their communities and families as well. In return, women have an increased role and influence in both social and political life in society.
The skills taught by AIWR professionals greatly improve KIMS’ women students’ leadership, confidence-building, public speaking, critical thinking, and employment prospects. The model that KIMS-AIWR utilizes is both simple and effective – it is a technologically savvy, internet-enabled, community managed, and within Kandahar’s existing cultural and traditional values. It is supported by a wide range of international volunteers. Support from AIWR volunteers allows the institution to access modern education such as online courses, innovative ideas and technologies. These technologies and the cross-cultural interactive environment helps women in Kandahar obtain hope through interaction with other likeminded students, teachers and people, both inside and outside Afghanistan.