Female Engagement Teams Work with Parwan Women
By Dialogo February 24, 2011
In an effort to maximize communication with the Afghan population and to honor their customs, coalition forces are training female engagement teams to interface with local women in Parwan province.
Female engagement team training teaches service members and civilians to communicate with Afghan women without offending their way of life. The five-day course consists of Pashto and Dari language training, Afghan religion training, Afghan cultural training and many other lessons to prepare the students for future engagements.
“The female engagement team has been around for the past nine years, we are just starting to put a name on it now,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Teresa Wolfgang. “Fifty percent of the Afghan people are women; if you ignore 50 percent of the population, you’re not going to get that much information. This is Afghan culture and we have to respect it, that’s where the female engagement team comes into play.”
The female engagement team has many roles when talking to Afghan women out on patrol.
“The female engagement team helps connect the local populous to the government in a more direct fashion that has been done in a while,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Lindsey Pawlowski, a female engagement team member. “It provides an opportunity to gather information from Afghan women within a town.”
During missions, female engagement team members can assist in accomplishing the task and purpose for the patrol, as well as get the other side of the story from the local females in the village, said U.S. Army Col. Stephen Bentley, coalition forces.
“During the patrol after-action report, the female engagement team members will report their findings as well as what the other soldiers found out from the males of the village, so it will give you on the ground-truth situational awareness of the village,” Bentley explained.