Regina Starr Ridley, publishing director of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, met with 2009 Kravis Prize winner and Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) Founder Sakeena Yacoobi last month at the global poverty alleviation convention, Opportunity Collaboration, in Mexico. Yacoobi shared her thoughts with Ridley on the growing sense of empowerment among Afghani women:

“Women’s lives are changing rapidly for the good. It’s changed 180 degrees. Women are going into professions of all kinds. But the women of Afghanistan still need the international community to back them up. It takes awhile—Afghanistan has been at war 30 years. Everything cannot be changed right away.”

While discussing developments in Afghanistan, Yacoobi said:

“Afghanistan is doing better, the villages are cleaner, people are healthier, and people know more about hygiene and reproductive health. Now we need infrastructure support, and we need to develop our civil society.”

Due to Yacoobi’s keen knowledge and tireless drive, AIL has already taken steps towards developing Afghanistan’s civil society through workshops on democracy, leadership and peace. AIL’s emerging youth group, which started with 25 students, has now grown to over 200. Thanks to Yacoobi and AIL, women and youths in Afghanistan are stepping in to help shape the country’s social development.

Afghanistan: Update from Sakena Yacoobi” [The Stanford Social Innovation Review, November 8, 2011]

To learn more about Sakena Yacoobi, visit our page.