USAID Launches Long-term Commitment to Afghan Women and Girls

USAID’s Largest Gender Program Will Build upon Afghan Progress from the Past Decade

For Immediate Release

Saturday, November 8, 2014
USAID Press Office
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: USAIDPressOfficers@usaid.gov | Twitter: @USAIDPress

KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah today launched a five-year program in Afghanistan focusing on the education, promotion, and training of 75,000 Afghan women between 18 and 30 years of age.  The Promote program will support women’s efforts to enhance their contribution 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 managerial skills. USAID is committing $216 million to Promote and is seeking up to $200 million in additional financial commitments from other donors. Promote is the largest women’s empowerment program supported by USAID anywhere in the world.

“Promote helps the Afghan people see that investing in a woman’s chances to succeed is essential to their own economic prosperity and national security,” said Administrator Shah. “By investing in women as champions for development, we can advance peace and broad-based growth across Afghanistan.”

In addition to the Promote program, Administrator Shah announced more than $110 million for health and nutrition programs for Afghan women and girls. Of the commitment, $105 million will help to improve nutrition and reduce stunting rates in Afghan women, adolescent girls, and children less than two years old. USAID will dedicate the remaining $5.6 million to reducing anemia and iron deficiency among adolescent girls. Anemia poses a major threat to maternal and child survival, contributes to low birth weight of babies, lowers resistance to infection, and limits cognitive development and school performance among children. 

With assistance from USAID, Afghan women and girls have experience rapid advancements in health, education, and empowerment over the past 13 years. Maternal mortality has declined more rapidly in Afghanistan than anywhere in the world contributing to a 20-year increase in life expectancy.  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. The commitment made by USAID today builds on gains from the past decade that will help young Afghan women and girls become future leaders of all sectors of Afghan society.

Last updated: July 26, 2016

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