For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, DC: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a five-year program targeting the education, promotion, and training of a new generation of Afghan women, aged 18-30. Named “Promote,” the program’s goal is to increase women’s contributions to Afghanistan’s development by strengthening women’s rights groups, boosting female participation in the economy, increasing the number of women in decision making positions within the Afghan government, and helping women gain business and management skills.
Subject to the availability of funds, the ceiling limit for Promote is set at $416 million to allow for possible contributions of up to $200 million from other international donors.
Building upon existing and previous programs for women and girls, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced the program at the a U.S. Institute of Peace today, reaffirming the U.S. government’s long-term support for Afghan women.
“Enormous progress has been made in advancing opportunities for women and girls in Afghanistan over the past 11 years,” Administrator Shah said, “While there are challenges ahead, Promote underscores our commitment to ensuring that women and girls play a major role in determining Afghanistan's political and economic future.”
USAID’s commitment to Afghan women also includes the creation of an institute for gender and development studies and an international scholarship program for Afghan women pursuing careers in highly technical professions.
With substantial assistance from USAID, Afghanistan has seen one of the most rapid declines in maternal mortality anywhere in the world and an increase in overall life expectancy of 15 – 20 years. Girls now account for more than a third of all school children in Afghanistan compared to virtually none in 2002. More than 120,000 young women have finished secondary school and 40,000 are working on university degrees. Women have entered the business and political arenas with women making up more than 25 percent of the Afghan parliament.
At the USIP event, Dr. Shah emphasized the importance of the Afghan government’s role in improving the rights of women and girls by highlighting the U.S. government’s incentive fund of up to $175 million in development assistance. The funds will be released as the Afghan government fulfills its commitment to reforms made in Tokyo in 2012, including protecting the rights of women.
The Promote request for proposal is now available at www.fbo.gov and is the first step in the process by which USAID intends to award multiple contracts for this program.
Last updated: July 14, 2014