Gender Equality Project (GEP II) stepped in the final year of its second phase with the blend of achievements and challenges. First quarter, being hallmark to the planning for the rest of the year; the project accomplished approval of the Annual Work Plan (AWP-2015) and other supporting documents. Restructuring GEP II was at the center of our planning to ensure cost effectiveness, results andvidence based management. Two of our offices, Bamyan and Balkh moved to DOWA Offices with support from MOWA to reduce operational costs. In addition, MOWA provided space for the Legal Help Centres (LHCs)/ Women Assistance Centre (WACs) and Information and Communication and Technology (ICTs). These developments will ensure sustainability of the project. Quota one focused on building a strong base for implementation.
This year, we have a unique opportunity to make greater progress as the new elected government has prioritized promotion of gender equality. Notwithstanding, the delay in appointing Ministers for key line Ministries to GEP II has been a noticeable challenge during the period under review, especially on policy reviews that require high level political engagement and commitment.
The first pillar on MOWA`s capacity on policy and oversight registered remarkable achievements; GEP II worked with MOWA to establish the first harmonized technical advisory committee to guide the development of the NAPWA monitoring database. A web based NAPWA on line prototype structure has been developed. GEP worked with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to finalize the draft gender budgets booklet reported last year on best approaches to gender budgeting in Afghanistan. The booklet has since been approved by MOF, which means all new budget requests must now include a gender analysis. Partnering with EPD (Equality for Peace and Democracy) succeeded in significantly increasing the visibility and voice of civil society organizations in the gender budgeting process. The draft training manual has been approved by MOF to equip budget planners to analyze whether or not benefits accrue equally to women and men, resulting in some substantial shifts in national priorities. Gender Units are being strengthened through the establishment of a three tier coordination mechanism; Sub Gender Cabinet Committee, Line Ministry Gender Working Groups and Provincial Gender Working Groups (GWGs). GEP II organized high level advocacy meetings that resulted in political buy in to immediately institutionalize gender studies at Kabul University.