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The U.S. government and international donors have considered the investment in Afghan women to be a top priority of foreign assistance goals for the past 15 years.

A focus on opportunities for women has been mainstreamed across the extensive USAID portfolio in Afghanistan. Activities in health, education, economic growth, agriculture and democracy and governance have always addressed women and continue to do so.

As a result of the U.S. partnership with the Government of Afghanistan, the women of Afghanistan have made remarkable gains:

  • More than 3 million girls are enrolled in primary and secondary schools
  • Women’s life expectancy has been increased from early 40s to 64 years
  • Increased access to the Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS), defined as the percentage of the population living within one hour's walk to a health facility, from 57 percent (2008) to over 95 percent.
  • Over 62,000 women are enrolled in public universities

It is precisely because of these development successes that the U.S. government identified a gap in women’s programming...the newfound ability of women to access education and participate in society has resulted in thousands of young women graduating from high schools and universities every year. However, many challenges to their full participation in society remain.

Promote is a five-year program targeting the education, promotion, and training of Afghan women. Promote strengthens women’s participation in civil society, boosts female participation in the economy, increases the number of women in decision making positions within the Afghan government, and helps women gain business and management skills.

Promote reaffirms the U.S. government’s long-term support for Afghan women and girls. “Enormous progress has been made in advancing opportunities for women and girls in Afghanistan over the past 11 years,” former Administrator Rajiv Shah emphasized, “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 will also include the creation of a $50 million endowment to provide university scholarships indefinitely.


Women’s Leadership Development (WLD) Program

There will opportunities for 25,000 young women and adolescent girls to take part in this personal development and leadership mentoring program as follows:

Timeline: The six-month leadership development program will operate in cycles from mid-2015 to the end 2018.  Selection of participants for the first program will commence in mid-2015 and selection for subsequent programs will continue through mid-2018.  For more information, please contact WLD at: info@promote-wld.com

Women in Government Program

There will be opportunities for 3,000 university graduates to receive civil service training and participate in internships with various governmental organizations, at national and local levels.  The goal is to obtain permanent employment positions in the Afghan civil service.

Timeline: Recruitment of participants is ongoing. For more information, please contact WIG at: internship@promotewig.com

Women’s Civil Society Organizations and Coalitions (Musharikat) Program

Musharikat activities are being implemented nationwide. Women’s empowerment organizations in each of the 34 provinces will participate. Through the efforts of these organizations, a minimum of 5,000 activists will be welcome to participate in gender-related issue-based coalitions. These groups and activists have identified three top priorities to remove barriers to women’s participation in society: Access to Information/Education, Elimination of Violence Against Women and Access to the Economy.

Afghan Women in the Economy (WIE) Program

The primary objective of WIE is to help Afghan women increase their leadership in the economy. WIE will help women secure employment with advancement potential through internships apprenticeships and improve the viability and income growth of women-owned businesses.

Last updated: November 19, 2021

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