Afghan Biographies

Nemat, Orzala Ashraf Mrs.

Name Nemat, Orzala Ashraf Mrs.
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1977
Function/Grade Afghan Research and Evalution Unit Director AREU
History and Biodata

1. Afghan Research and Evalution Unit Director AREU:
Mrs. Orzala Ashraf Nemat (20201017)

Deputy Director:
Dr. Nishank Motwani (2020)

2. Previous Function:
Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children of Afghanistan HAWCA Chairwoman and Founder
Afghan Research and Evalution Unit Director AREU (20190203, 20200130)

Other HAWCA members:
Selay Ghaffar, Executive Director

3. Biodata:
Nemat_Ashraf_OrzalaMrs. Orzala Ashraf Nemat was born May 24, 1977 and lived as a refugee in Pakistan for 14 years. During the mid 1990s, she served as a guide and translator to journalists and foreign aid visitors to the refugee camps in which she lived, having fled Kabul with her family when she was 12.

She has a master’s degree from the University of London in development planning, with a special focus on social development practice. Mrs. Ashraf has long been a strong advocate for human rights and the active participation of women in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, consulting with international organizations including Human Rights Watch, Swiss Development Corporation, UNDP, and UNIFEM.

She is a member of the Afghan Women’s Network and Civil Society and Human Rights Network, Persian Gender Network, Gender and Law working group (professionals and scholars involved in crafting the constitution), and is one of the founding members of the Women’s Political Participation Committee. Mrs. Ashraf and her organization were given the Isabel Ferror Award for women’s education and the Amnesty International award for humanitarian aid to children and women; she was a World Fellow at Yale University in 2008.

Afghan civil society activist Orzala Ashraf Nemat branded Karzai 'very weak' when he opened up to the possibility of Taliban taking positions in the Afghan government.(20131008)

Languages spoken: Dari/Persian, English, Pashtu, Urdu, Pashayee

HAWCA House No. 1137/P, Selo Oil Pump Street, Khushal Khan Mina, District 5, Kabul, Afghanistan. hawca[@]hawca[.]org +93 (0)706 66 23 27 +93 (0)797 07 59 76 - 708 21 65 66


Background HAWCA:
Humanitarian Assistance for Women and Children of Afghanistan HAWCA protects the rights of women and children in Afghanistan. They provide lobbying efforts for women’s rights through the legal framework of national and international conventions on women’s rights.

More background Orzala Ashraf Nemat:
Guest Scholar at CMI (Norway) 

Phd Candidate at Law and Political Science Faculty (School of Oriental and African Studies)

Orzala Ashraf Nemat is an emerging scholar and a highly respected civil society and women’s rights activist working to empower local communities in Afghanistan.  Previously, as the founder and chair of a leading Afghan NGO, Humanitarian Assistance to the Women and Children of Afghanistan, Ashraf Nemat devoted ten years to establishing and delivering training programs to Afghan women and children in refugee communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the field of education, legal protection and emergency assistance.


Orzala also participated in various number of executive education and leadership programs such as Global Leadership & Public Policy for the 21st Century (March21-31st 2010), KSG, Harvard University and Young Global Leaders, Women and Security: Women’s role in the security sector reforms.

Orzala has written several academic and policy papers focusing on her experiences in Afghanistan where she took an activist and an academically scholar's role jointly. She is increasingly involved in political and social advocacy and analysis of development related matters at the national level and also served on the board of directors of the Afghan Women’s Network and other human rights networks in Afghanistan. She is member of the Steering Committee for a multi donor funded Program led by UK's DFID known as Tawanmandi. She is currently focusing on her Phd aiming to present an Afghan perspective on how outside interventions change or influence local (village) governance and local power dynamics in  Afghanistan, while she also keeps carrying personal initiatives of building schools and advocating for women's rights.

Last Modified 2023-03-23
Established 2010-10-20