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Sakena Yacoobi

Sakena Yacoobi is an educator and health advocate for women and children in Afghanistan. Since 1995, Sakena is the Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL). Among her many awards are six honorary doctorates, Sunhak Peace Prize, WISE Prize for Education, Opus Prize, Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, Afghan National Peace Award and Sri Sathya Sai Award for Human Excellence in education. Skena has been recognized for Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, Ashoka Fellow and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Sakena is the Vice President of Creating Hope International (CHI), a former board member for the Global Fund for Women, a Fetzer Institute advisor, and a member of the US-Afghan Women's Council.

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Afghan Institute of Learning
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Non-profit Social Enterprise
Sustainable Development; Education and Skills
Areas of Impact
South Asia, North America, Afghanistan, Pakistan

Afghan Institute of Learning

Founded in 1996, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) provides health and education services to Afghan women and children, including programmes for orphans, street children and the disabled through its community-based learning centres which provide primary and secondary schooling and university classes, as well as health services and education. Its education learning centres are established in partnership with local communities, which contribute facilities and human resources, while AIL provides teachers' salaries, ongoing training and school curricula.

AIL also operates rural clinics that provide primary care services and health education in coordination with volunteer community health workers. AIL has opened a Women's Legal Clinic Project in Herat to provide legal support for indigent women. Staffed with five women lawyers, the Legal Clinic Project assists women referred by the MOWA and HRC, as well as women who hear about the project on the radio or through other means. Staff lawyers work on a variety of cases affecting women, including child custody battles, protecting property or inheritance rights, and securing justice in cases related to child marriage, marriage without consent of the girl, and abuse.

AIL Herat provides some programming and technical support to Radio Meraj, which was founded in 2015 and is housed in AIL Herat's offices. The station has won a number of awards and reaches over 2 million listeners. Its programmes are specifically designed to help women take an active role in society and to educate them in how to look after their families. Women are given the knowledge to plan and manage and develop self-expression in society.

AIL has offices in Kabul and Herat, Afghanistan and serves about 400,000 women, men and children annually in 8 provinces, employing more than 450 Afghans, over 70% of whom are women. AIL has provided education, health and training services to over 15 million Afghans.