Gender Equality Project II (GEP II)


UNDP Afghanistan : Minister of Women's Affairs Hussn Banu Ghazanfar and Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, UN Under-Secretary General and Associate Administrator of UNDP meet at the launch of the Gender Equality Project.

Since 2002, Afghan women have improved their access to public services and to the public sphere, which had been denied to them during the years of Taliban rule. Some of the most visible signs of progress are the fact that 46 percent of girls are attending primary school and the increasing number of women working in schools, hospitals and government offices.

Despite these achievements, huge challenges remain with respect to women’s mobility, participation in public life, decision making, health, and access to economic and educational opportunities. Only 12 percent of Afghan women can read and write.

Their position in the labour market is also particularly weak. While 47 percent of women participate in the labour force, almost all (95 percent) are in vulnerable employment. Since women’s mobility outside the home is limited for cultural reasons, they work in their houses in activities like carpet weaving, sewing, tailoring and farm duties, especially in rural areas.

Incidents of violence against women still remain largely under-reported due to social norms and taboos, and customary and religious beliefs.

According to the 2008 Global Rights’ report, more than 87 percent of women have experienced at least one form of physical, sexual or psychological violence, or forced marriage.

Victims fear social stigma and exclusion, and face at times threat to life.  In some instances, the police and prosecutor’s offices, rather than following required legal procedures, refer cases - including serious crimes – to traditional assemblies such as jirgas and shuras for advice or resolution, which often reinforce harmful practices. For example, a court may sentence a rapist to imprisonment but a jirga or shura may decide the rapist should marry the victim.

Women’s Economic Empowerment:  According to UN Women, only 5 percent of businesses in Afghanistan are owned by women. GEP II plans to develop around 300 new women entrepreneurs each year to reach a total of 900 women entrepreneurs by 2015.

The project will also establish four women’s production centres; arrange exposure visits for 250 women entrepreneurs; introduce six new clean technologies and result in 30 functional women’s co-operatives in targeted areas.

In addition, six joint initiatives for the economic empowerment of women will be initiated with private sector partners to encourage their participation in the regional economies. These activities aim to increase women’s income in the targeted population by at least 20 percent.

Access to Justice and Human Rights:  GEP-II is expected to increase the access of 5,500 women to legal help and, when required, to the state justice system under a collaborative arrangements between MoWA and the Ministry of Justice.

In addition, expected results include the compliance of five laws with gender equality principles; equitable resolution of 35 percent of cases dealt with by traditional justice; the expansion of Women’s Legal Help Centres to 52 locations; the organization of 40 trainings for religious leaders, judges, police and other actors; and the establishment of 15 gender sensitive media centres.

Response

The Gender Equality Project II (GEP-II) focuses on three major issues that Afghan women face: lack of or weak support provided to women’s rights through policies and legal documents; feeble participation of women in the economic activities; and limited access to justice and human rights systems due to the weakness of the judicial system. 

Policy Review and Support:  While Afghanistan has ratified in 2003 the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), there has not been adequate rigorous gender analysis of policies of line ministries to date. This has had a negative impact in the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA). GEP-II is undertaking the analysis of 10 policies and supports the review and development of related strategies and action plans. It  also pilots gender responsive budgeting in 25 Ministries and nine Provinces.

Women’s Economic Empowerment:  According to UN Women, only 5 percent of businesses in Afghanistan are owned by women. GEP II plans to support around 300 women to start new businesses each year and to reach a total of 900 women by 2015. The project will also establish four women’s production centres; arrange exposure visits for 250 women entrepreneurs; introduce six new clean technologies and support 30 functional women’s co-operatives in targeted areas. In addition, six joint initiatives for the economic empowerment of women will be initiated with private sector partners to encourage their participation in the regional economies. These activities aim to increase women’s income in the targeted population by at least 20 percent.

Access to Justice and Human Rights:  GEP-II is expected to increase the access of 5,500 women to legal help and, when required, to the state justice system under a collaborative arrangements between MoWA and the Ministry o Justice .

In addition, expected results include the compliance of five laws with gender equality principles; equitable resolution of 35 percent of cases dealt with by traditional justice; the expansion of Women’s Legal Help Centres to 52 locations; the organization of 40 trainings for religious leaders, judges, police and other actors; and the establishment of 15 gender sensitive media centres.

What have we accomplished so far



During the first phase of the Gender Equality Project (2007-2012):

  • Over 2000 women have seen their legal cases resolved through community level negotiations, after the establishment of 24 Legal Help Centres in the provinces of Balkh, Bamyan, Herat and Nangarhar.
  • Provincial Women’s Development Councils in the provinces of Balkh, Bamyan, Herat and Nangarhar, established with GEP support, have strengthened the capacity of provincial government to respond to the needs of women.
  • The capacity of MoWA to review policies and programmes of line ministries from a gender perspective and to facilitate the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan has been strengthened by the establishment of the Women’s Policy Development Centre with GEP support. 
  • Over 2000 Religious leaders have increased their understanding of the socio-economic rights of women after attending training supported by GEP in collaboration with the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs.
  • The Gender Studies Institute at Kabul University, established with GEP support, has strengthened the capacity of the educational institution to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in Afghanistan. As part of its activities, over 100 faculty members of universities in Kabul, Balkh, Herat, Nangarhar and Bamyan have increased their awareness of sexual harassment on the campus, how to prevent it and report it; and more than 200 students in Kabul University have increased their understanding of gender equality after attending Gender Mainstreaming training.

Who Finances it?

Donor

Total Budget in US$

Budget for Program in US$

Italy

813,898

760,652.3

CIDA

2,274.045

2,125.276

MoF

224,465

209,780

UNDP (Core Fund)

3,650.685

3,650.685

Total

6,963.093

6,746.393

Delivery in previous fiscal year in US$

Dec 2012

 3 million

At a Glance
Start Date:
Janaury 2013
End Date:
December 2015
Project Manager
Fulya Vekiloglu
Focus Area
Gender Equality and Women Empowerment
MDG
3
Implementation Modality
Direct Implementation
Implementing Partners:
Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWA)
Other Key Partners:
Civil Society Organizations; Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock; Ministry of Economy; Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs; Ministry of Justice; Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission; Central Statistics Office; Kabul University
Total Budget:
US$ 30,000,000
GEP II Project Summary
Gender Equality II (GEP II) Project Summary

The Project Summary of Gender Equality Project II (GEP II) covers in two-page PDF document the issues, responses and achievements of this UNDP project in Afghanistan.

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