WADAN works with people of all ages and in different walks of life to inspire, enable and educate them to be productive and involved citizens. We address the many needs of Afghans today through a wide variety of mechanisms to fulfill our mission. Inclusion of men, women, youth and children offers hope that our vision for a peaceful, drug free, and developed Afghanistan becomes reality.
Our first project, funded by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), was to commemorate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26, 2003 in Gardez, Paktia. The theme was “Drugs: Treatment Works.” WADAN’s first drug treatment center, a residential center for men – with home-based treatment for women, opened in Gardez in March 2004. The poppy remains Afghanistan’s largest cash crop and well over a million Afghans, toddlers to the elderly, are addicted to heroin or other narcotics. WADAN operates treatment centers for men, women, adolescents and children throughout the country. We offer community-based education about the dangers of drugs and enlist schoolteachers, Mullahs and Maliks (community leaders) to advocate against using, producing or trafficking illicit drugs. WADAN’s anti-drug messaging extends through all of our work. Our treatment centers counsel the family members of patients undergoing addiction treatment and our outreach education encourages communities to welcome recovering addicts when they return home.
Civic education is central to our work; first through a community empowerment and reintegration project in 2004, funded by Save the Children, Sweden/Norway (SCS/N), which worked with 160 village shuras (councils), equally divided by gender, in the eastern provinces of Laghman and Nangarhar. A dozen years later these shuras still meet to address the same issues they were created to address: political revival, national unity and reconstruction efforts. The Save the Children funded community based primary schools for which those shuras served as Parent Teacher Associations operated until 2011, the final year was privately financed, and they were phased out as national government schools were opened.
We nurture political revival through trainings about understanding national unity. It is a work in progress, as is reconstruction. WADAN promotes building Afghanistan from the grassroots, starting with the rural areas, and engaging traditional governance figures as well as officials from the central government ministries. We work closely with our funders and with the beneficiaries and all those who are necessary to assure that what is accomplished is sustainable. WADAN’s long-running work with maliks, local leaders concentrated on peace building, education, the importance of anti-corruption efforts and drug control. The National Maliks Association was formed in 2005 as the result of these trainings and now stands as a government registered association. We involve maliks in facilitating security in volatile areas and this allows WADAN to work in risky places where others will not go.
WADAN’s focus on human rights, including women’s rights from the Islamic point of view, is furthered through our work with maliks and with religious leaders, including mullahs, the traditional influential figures of importance in village life. Working with these two sets of traditional leadership figures and with the involvement of district and central level officials, , WADAN has facilitated the participation of rural and urban women in nation building.
Education is a primary need in Afghanistan; our latest work funded in Uruzgan Province by Save the Children International (SCI), which established 120 community based schools, ended in 2015 as security in that southern province deteriorated. Also in Uruzgan Province, WADAN trained young women, recent high school graduates in a Save the Children funded program named Child of Uruzgan that taught them to be primary schoolteachers in villages that have no national government primary schools.