In Afghanistan, UNDP works on different fronts to promote and ensure gender equality, together through partnership with Government, civil society and other parts of the UN and the international community. UNDP mainstreams gender equality principles in all its thematic areas: democratic governance, access to justice and rule of law, livelihoods and resilience.
UNDP in Afghanistan implements a dedicated project, “Enhancing Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Afghanistan,”whose main objective is to promote the national leadership’s commitments and capacity for greater gender equality outcomes.
Enhancing Gender Equality and Mainstreaming Project and its focus areas:
First Master’s Degree Programme on gender and women’s studies in Afghanistan
The first cohort of twenty-two students (of whom 15 are women) have graduated from the Master’s Programme on Gender and Women’s studies at Kabul University which is technically and financially supported by UNDP. It is expected that graduates will form a pool of gender experts and fill in the gaps at the governmental institutions for gender equality knowledge and expertise. In 2017 UNDP facilitated partnership with India’s TATA University for six professors. Partnership with UNU-GEST and University of Iceland has resulted in scholarships provision to three students who spent six months in the University of Iceland in 2017 and 2018.
Volunteerism for gender equality
UNDP in partnership with different ministries, particularly the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and the Deputy Ministry of Youth and Culture Affairs, is establishing the first network of ‘’Youth-Mullah Caravans”, a pilot volunteer network in Balkh, Herat and Kabul provinces. UNDP is working on institutionalizing volunteerism for different development causes in line with National Priority Programmes. In 2017, the network managed to cover more than 16,000 community members in remote areas with its advocacy outreach events for women’s rights.
Employment creation and livelihoods for rural women
UNDP partners with Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock to empower rural women and pilots different business models. For instance, a production, demonstration and training center in Kabul province which employs 100 women; a beekeeping association in Daikundi employing 200 women, 140 women being employed in Herat province with saffron production and more.
Policy-making and analytical support
In parallel, UNDP’s gender equality project focuses on policy-making, where, with the main partner, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, a team of experts work on engendering policies and legislation to ensure best interests of women. The policy revision team, established within the ministry with the project’s support, has reviewed and provided recommendation for engendering 11 policies of line ministries along with their 6 strategies in 2017 alone. The revision process with technical support of UNDP involved development of recommendations on improving internal working conditions to enable women to grow professionally within governmental institutions as well as measures to expand women’s opportunities and access to basic services, such as health, education and justice.