Legal Literacy for Women in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Video | 15 February 2021

The project, financed by a regional capacity development technical assistance, is designed to reduce gender-based violence and promote gender equality, by changing the ways gender-based crimes are being regarded and prosecuted.

ADB provided customized training for prosecutors and judges in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help strengthen the capacity of investigating, prosecuting, and decision-making bodies, and equip women with adequate knowledge of their rights to access social and legal justice.

The project also organized positive community outreaches through interactive plays, puppet shows, and truck arts to promote the legal rights of women and girls. One of the project impacts was also assisting participating countries in fulfilling their obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).


Legal Literacy for Women in Afghanistan and Pakistan 

Hira’s Mother

I was cooking. I sent Hira to the market to get something. After some time, 

I realized Hira had not returned. 

Being a mother, I started getting worried.

Voiceover /Narration

Stories like this are not uncommon in Pakistan and Afghanistan where women are victims of gender-based violence.

These countries worked with the Asian Development Bank to reduce gender-based violence and promote gender equality by changing the way these crimes are regarded and prosecuted.

Irum Ahsan

Law and Policy Reform Project Leader and Advisor, Office of the Compliance Review Panel, Asian Development Bank

We prepared a very customized training. The challenge is to assemble a team that brings in all the required expertise and different skill sets.

Prosecutor from Afghanistan

It’s very useful. We work for changing the lives of women and just to eliminate violence. So I believe these kinds of trainings are really useful and I hope it goes in future as well.

Pervez Iqbal 

Civil Judge Jhang, Pakistan

It was not only knowledge, it was also about the skill and attitude as well. We learned how to apply the concept of gender sensitization.

First Gender -Based violence court inaugurated

“ If women feel safe and secure, they will be able to record their statements peacefully and can raise a voice in the court.”

LHC Chief Justice Syed Manor Ali Shah

Voiceover /Narration

After a series of trainings Pakistan’s first GBV Court with special court procedures, based on national laws and international practices and a gender-sensitive layout was set up.

Aasya Yaseen

Deputy District Public Prosecutor

GBV Court Lahore

When the victims appear in the court, they feel confident to see that the Presiding Officer is listening to them attentively the Prosecutor is presenting the statement effectively they are not being humiliated through harsh questioning and there is no pressure and intimidation. 

Voiceover /Narration

Within a year, the conviction rate for rape cases in the specialized court rose from 2%-3% to 16.5%.

Hira’s Mother

We received support when we went to the court. Now we are not afraid anymore.

We realized that we have someone who listens to us with patience and love. 


Community Outreach Through Positive Media Campaigns in Pakistan and Afghanistan      

Voiceover /Narration

Culturally sensitive media interventions were designed around legal rights of women.

Puppet shows featured male heroes who stood up for the rights of women.

 (Puppet shows)

Nadeem says: physical violence is a crime.


Truck Art for Legal Rights of Women and Girls in Punjab, Pakistan.

Voiceover /Narration

Trucks also served as mobile billboards with uplifting messages on women rights.





Abdul Razzaq

Truck owner, Punjab

A daughter is not a burden, but a blessing. 

With an awareness of this notion, I hope to have this painted on my truck.

Voiceover /Narration

In the northeastern Afghanistan, interactive plays were designed to highlight GBV (gender-based violence) with men as protagonists.

Theater (Afghanistan)

Which law or text allows you to treat her like an animal?

Has she given her consent?

A marriage requires consent of both parties.

Voiceover /Narration

Showing men breaking silence around violence against women was a key step towards changing mindsets.

Muhammad Ali Zai 


This play has given me a lot of helpful information regarding violence against women. Practices like child marriage and compensation marriage are illegal. What I learned from the play was that one should reach out and look for solutions collectively. 

Voiceover /Narration

Together the efforts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Asian Development Bank to eliminate gender-based violence and achieve gender equality for economic empowerment proved to be a ray of hope for young women like Amna. 

Amna Khan Azizi

Student, Afghanistan

It gives me hope that women will get their rights and will finally be treated like human beings.