Maryam Durrani and Hasina Nekzad, two Afghan women, have won the N-Peace Awards for their contributions to building peace and transforming their communities.
N-Peace is a multi-country network of peace advocates in Asia advancing women’s and peace issues. The network is coordinated by UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub and supports women's leadership in conflict prevention, recovery, peacebuilding and more.
Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Myanmar and the Philippines are part of the network. One of the initiatives of the N-Peace Network is the N-Peace Awards.
Maryam Durrani is the founder of the Khadija Kubra socio-cultural organisation and Radio Mirman in Kandahar province. Hasina Nekzad is among civil society and women’s rights activists in Herat province.
Durrani and Nekzad were nominated for the award through the United National Development Programme (UNDP) representing Afghan women and received votes through an online process.
The awards were given to the two activists on Friday at a special ceremony in New York City. Maryam Durrani said the award belonged to all Afghans, especially women. She vowed to continue her struggle for ensuring women’s rights in the country.
She told Pajhwok Afghan News the women suffered the most during the years of war and for improving their lives, a lot needed to be done. Maryam Durani, who has been campaigning since 2004 for the rights of women, including education, families’ economy and raising awareness in Kandahar province, has won the following awards:
International Award for Brave Women in 2011 in the US; Selected as one of the top 10 brave women in the world in 2012; chosen among the top 100 influential people by the Times Magazine; Peace Award in Turkey in 201; and the Freedom of Speech Award from Roosevelt Foundation in the Netherlands in 2014.
Hassina Neekzad’s inspiring work in Herat province also includes teaching thousands of men and women, devoting herself to increasing female principals in small village schools, aiding parents in their quest to provide their daughters education and creation of local women’s communities, offering a route for legal and social support.