Afghan Youth Votes in Historic ElectionDespite rain and security challenges in many parts of the country, Afghans went to the polls on 5th April in Presidential and Provincial Council elections. The election marks the first time in Afghanistan’s history that power is handed from one democratically elected government to another. Young Afghans who reached the age of 18 since 2010, and those who have not registered before, were queuing to receive voter cards until 1st April. As nearly two thirds of Afghans are under the age of 25, Afghanistan's youth make up a significant proportion of voters.
From Refugee to Politician: Afghanistan’s First Female Provincial Council Chair Fights for RightsTayeba Khawary is an Afghan, but she was born as a refugee in Iran after her family fled Afghanistan’s violent conflict in the 1980s. Hoping for better times one day, her father worked as a laborer to support her university studies until the family could return to their home in Afghanistan’s central province of Bamyan.
Government Turns to Merit-Based RecruitmentSayra Shakib Sadat was a young female school student from an illiterate family, living in an isolated village in northern Afghanistan, when fighting broke out among political leaders and the mujahidin in the early 1980s.
Local Democracy and Development Go Hand-in-HandMahmud-i-Raqi, Kapisa Province—Mushtari, a 42-year-old high school graduate and secretary of the District Development Assembly of Mahmudi-Raqi district, some 80 kilometres north of Kabul, is presenting to fellow Assembly members a project to build a primary school for girls.
Enabling Responsive Governance, Cutting Time in Service DeliveryMazar-e-Sharif: Marzia, resident of Baba Kambar area in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, found her husband disappear after the floods. She was left to fend for herself and her three daughters. Marziya approached the Citizen Service Centre (CSC) located in the Provincial Governor’s Office, with her grievance.
Portrait of a Young Man as a Civic EducatorMazar-e-Sharif: A class of 130 female students at the Mawlana Institute of Health Sciences in downtown Mazar, listen in rapt attention as Abdullah Ahmadi (name changed), 25, a civic educator and his team explains the finer details of the on-going voter registration process to the young students: the essential documentation that they need to bring to the registration centre to establish their legal date of birth and their identification.
Taxi Driver Beats Unfair Murder Rap - in Just One MonthMazar-e-Sharif, 3 February 2016 – Sayed Hakim, a 27-year old taxi driver and father of four, worked hard every day, but he was happy with his life. Little did he know that everything he enjoyed could disappear in a flash.
Stitched up in Herat: UNDP helps free taxi driver from false accusationHerat, 15 February 2016 — Twenty-three-year-old Noor Ahmad drives a motorbike in Heart to support his family. His father has two wives and two sets of children, which is common in parts of Afghanistan. One day, rivalries between these two sides of the one family boiled over. It nearly pulled his life apart.
Even nurses need lawyers: UNDP funds legal aid for womenNangarhar, 03 March 2016 – At 19 years of age, Gul Bashra had completed school, finished two years of midwifery training, and was all set to realize her lifelong dream of bringing better healthcare to her fellow Afghans in Nangarhar.
Ministry of Interior Affairs and UNDP Sign New LOTFA AgreementFahima*, pregnant, was forced by her husband to crawl on all fours with the family’s dogs. It was just one of the ways she was abused during her one year marriage. He also beat her with sticks, yelled obscenities at her and poured boiling water on her hands.
Improving Accountability Through Access to InformationWhile doing a story on maternal health in Afghanistan, journalist Mary Nabardaeen wanted to know how many women had died in childbirth at a certain hospital. Officials refused to reveal the number, saying that doing so was prohibited by the minister of public health. It was a response that the head of the Bakhter News Agency had become familiar with in her twenty years as a journalist. It was just another example of the challenges she has faced in attempting to get information from the government.
Former Fighter Opts for Peace: How UNDP Helps Start New Lives in Safer Communities“I loved my gun; it gave me dignity. But it was used for the wrong purpose, so I handed it over to be used for good,” says former Taliban fighter, 43-year-old Dawood Jan Nangyaly. Mulah Dawood, as he is also known, was a deputy commander leading some 60 insurgents against national and international forces in Zabul Province’s Nawbahar District.
A Seller’s Market - UNDP Helps Street Vendors in KabulEvery day in Kabul, around 700,000 street vendors rise with the sun and rush into the city to earn a living. Managing this huge influx of people is a major challenge for Kabul municipality and the police. They don’t want blocked roads and traffic chaos, but the vendors also need to earn a living.
Afghanistan’s First Female District Police Chief: Colonel Jamila BayazShe was supposed to be an engineer. But Jamila Bayaz lasted a year studying engineering at Kabul University before finally convincing her family to let her join the police force.
A Home-Based Embroidery Business Witnesses Twofold Increase in ProfitAzima Safi, 50, runs a small embroidery business in Jalalabad. She learned sewing handicrafts when she lived with her family as a refugee in Peshawar, Pakistan during the 90s. As the oldest kid in the family, she had to quit school at grade five and work for someone else making handicrafts at a low daily wage, which she spent on her siblings’ schooling. Upon returning to Afghanistan in 1998, she started up a home-based embroidery business of her own in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province.
Women Entrepreneurs from Herat Link with Kabul-Area MarketsWomen from across the western province of Herat are engaged in a number of entrepreneurship activities that include making handicrafts and jewelry, growing saffron and processing dry fruit such as pistachio and almond. Women entrepreneurs from Herat City, and Gozara, Injil, Karukh, Koshan and Zindajan districts of Herat province are particularly active in running and expanding their small-scale businesses.
Afghan Women Muster Courage to Escape Domestic ViolenceNewly-married and pregnant Amena recently took the bold step of leaving her violent husband. She is among the millions of Afghan women for whom life has improved over the past decade. Today, more women are able to access services, like legal aid, participate in decision-making, and more girls are enrolled in school than a decade ago.
Herat Women Get Legal Help to Fight Desertion and Domestic ViolenceHerat, November 2011: Fatima (name changed), resident of Injil on the outskirts of Herat city in western Afghanistan, was married to her first cousin Sultan, at age 15. Unable to cope with the daily physical violence of her husband who also forbade her from attending school, and daily arguments with her mother-in-law, she ran away to her parent’s home. It has been seven months since Fatima left her husband’s home and her condition is exacerbated by the fact she is in an advanced stage of pregnancy.
Results in Focus
During 2013, UNDP Afghanistan remained committed to maintaining a close working relationship with Afghanistan’s government and people. It reorganised its work around the areas of inclusive and legitimate politics; sub-national governance and development; rule of law; and the cross-cutting areas of gender, capacity development, and poverty and the environment. In this context, projects were implemented and results achieved in the areas of peacebuilding, rule of law, democratic governance, poverty reduction and livelihoods, and managing resources for sustainability and resilience. For more information, please download the full report. English PDF