Afghan religious leaders benefit from child rights awareness

Kabul, September 14, 2004 - According to a UNICEF press realease, 7,800 religious leaders from the western provinces of Afghanistan will start to receive awareness-raising and sensitization training on children's rights, as a new round of workshops gets under way on 13 September in a joint initiative between the Afghan Ministry of Religious Affairs and UNICEF.

This week's training program is part of a nationwide campaign that aims to reach up to 25,500 mullahs in 2004, and a further 50,000 next year. The program covers a number of children's issues including the rights to education, health care and nutrition, early marriage, reintegration of former child soldiers, the dangers of domestic violence and abuse, and awareness of HIV/AIDS. Each workshop lasts two days and is aimed at mullahs from individual districts, overseen by religious leaders who have undertaken prior "training for trainers" programs.

The religious leaders' sensitization program is supported financially through contributions from Finland and UNAIDS.