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Women vs. Warlords is a film series about three exceptional Afghan women who have risked or continue to risk their lives to bring literacy, education and gender equality to their country With this project we strive to amplify these women’s voices, increase their profiles internationally and attract support for their work.

"Inspired by Catherine Murphy’s beautiful film Maestra about the 1961 Cuban literacy campaign, I started exploring the connections between illiteracy, gender inequality and violence. From that exploration the idea for Women vs. Warlords emerged." DB

About the Project

Hi, My name is Diarmuid Brannick. I am an activist and amateur journalist aided in this project by a team of professionals. Tim Hood is a well-known Irish camera-operator and director of photography with experience working in conflict zones and Jake Mobbs is a videographer, director and editor with 16 years of experience. His resume includes directing and producing A Russian Fairytale, an incredible documentary about teenagers living on the streets of Perm, Russia.

Land of the Afghans

Afghanistan literally means Land of the Afghans. From snow-capped mountains to dry arid deserts, lush forests to megalithic rivers, it is the quintessence of beauty. With more than 20 different spoken languages it is a kaleidoscopic melting pot of countless ethnicities and tribes.

Endless War

For almost 40 years Afghanistan has bled, cried and sweated under the relentless wraith of war. Today the Taliban control approximately 50% of the country while Islamic State and other extremist groups also have a presence within the region. Day after day the news reports civilian casualties across the country.

The Struggle amidst the Struggle

Through this time of conflict there has also been another war waging, a struggle for gender equality. Courageous women, ordinary parents and liberal religious leaders have all contributed to this movement. Sadly, Afghanistan is still widely considered to be one of the worst places in the world to be a woman. With child marriages, forced marriages and the practice of giving a woman to a man in order to settle a dispute or repay a debt commonplace in many areas of the country. Many of the repressive practices in Afghanistan are actually anti-Islamic and go against the holy Quran.

The Power of Literacy

According to UNESCO the female literacy rate in Afghanistan is around 17%.The statistics clearly illustrate where women are educated in Afghanistan their economic prospects, life expectancy, quality of life and overall safety increases. Furthermore educated women form the vanguard of activists working tirelessly to transform the country they love.

Women vs. Warlords

Amid government failure, among the fundamentalists, warlords and criminals battling for control and resources, despite widespread malignant traditional beliefs many ordinary Afghans, especially women have stood up to violent oppressors and risked their lives to empower their people. By building schools in rural areas, training teachers, advocating and setting powerful examples to the youth they fight to put an end to gender inequality, oppression and poverty. Malalai Joya, Farahnaz Forotan and Dr Sakena Yacoobi stand as living, breathing testament to the true indomitable Afghan spirit. With women vs warlords we set out to explore their incredible journeys.