‘I could never have aspired to such a high position in the municipality, where men always occupied the key jobs’ Zahra, 19
USAID's RAMP UP-W
A scheme that recruits young Afghans, especially women, to work in local administration is gaining success
2 MARCH 2013 | FARAH, AFGHANISTAN
At just 19 years old, Zahra Abdul Aziz is a trailblazer for the women of Afghanistan’s western province of Farah. As a manager in Farah’s department of municipal administration, Zahra is one of the first, and very few, women to have a senior role in local government.
Zahra admits that she couldn’t even have aspired to her current job without USAID’s municipal internship scheme. The project focuses on recruiting women for the internship program in order to build a cadre of young professionals to work in local administration. When Zahra graduated alongside two female and six male interns, she was offered a senior managerial position on the strength of her performance during the mandatory, six-month, on-the-job training.
“I could never have aspired to get such a high position in the municipality, where men always occupied the key jobs,” says Zahra, adding that she feels empowered. “I gained confidence in myself and have proved a woman could succeed.”