Promote Women’s Leadership Development

  • Duration: 
    Sept 2014 – Sept 2019
  • Value: $42 million


Promote is USAID’s largest ever investment in women’s empowerment globally. The Women’s Leadership Development (WLD) program will enable Afghanistan’s most talented young women to become future leaders in government, business, and civil society. Over five years, 25,000 women with exceptional leadership potential and commitment to positive social change will be recruited and enrolled in the program, targeting specifically:

  1. Jawana (“Sapling” in Dari) – This  Primary Target Group includes women between the ages of 18–30 who have at least a high school diploma, though many may have taken college or university classes, or have university degrees or technical, vocational, or educational training.
  2. Royesh (“Seedling” in Dari) – This Secondary Target Group includes Afghan girls and women between the ages of 15-24 who have completed primary school (and perhaps some secondary schooling or vocational training) but who have not graduated from high school.


  • Post-Secondary Education/Jawana: Mobilize the expertise of international educational specialists, major stakeholders, local specialists, and government and private sector consultants to develop and pilot the ground breaking Jawana curriculum. It will be taught throughout Afghanistan through five regional hubs in Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kabul, and Jalalabad. The aim of the program, which the Ministry of Higher Education has endorsed, is to graduate 18,000 participants by the end of 2018.
  • High School Education/Royesh: Develop and launch the Royesh curriculum, which targets 7,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 24, teaching life skills and leadership training. The program, launched in 2016, has been endorsed by the Ministry of Education.
  • Mentorship: Develop and launch a mentorship program designed to assist the most promising Jawana graduates to capitalize on what they’ve learned by pairing them with suitable mentors from business, politics, academia, and civil society. To date, WLD has identified and vetted 20 mentors who currently work with 94 Jawana graduates.
  • Scholarships: Develop and launch a scholarship program to assist women  entering  demand-driven occupations by offering grants to help pay for tuition and accommodation expenses while they attend occupational and TVET at  secondary education institutes in Kabul, Herat, Nangarhar, Kandahar, and Balkh provinces.
  • Training of Trainers: Trained and upgraded the skills of 101 Jawana course facilitators and trainers during a 10-day pre-service delivery program.


  • Education: More than 3,237 young women have enrolled in the Jawana program and a total of 1,396 young women have graduated from the program since 2015.
  • Jawana experiential learning projects: Raised the awareness of more than tens of thousands of beneficiaries with messages about human rights, gender-based violence, breast cancer, reproductive and maternal health, hygiene and the environment through projects planned and implemented by Jawana students. Participants also used their entrepreneurial skills to open bakeries employing disadvantaged women, brought artisanal products to market and opened sports complexes specifically targeting women.
  • Jawana participant recruitment: Received more than 10,000 applicants from the inception of the Jawana program and enrolled 3,237.
  • High school education: Launched Royesh, a Ministry of Education-endorsed empowerment program. This project targets 7000 girls between the ages of 15 and 24 and offers them life skills and leadership training, including negotiation and conflict resolution skills, entrepreneurship and job skills training. Thus far, more than 4,000 Royesh students are attending classes in Herat, Kabul Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar.

Last updated: May 07, 2019

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