Our Stories

  • Daikundi Governor Shows Women Can Lead in Afghanistan
    May 21, 2017

    Masooma Muradi is Afghanistan’s only female governor. In her two years as Governor of Daikundi, one of the poorest and most marginalized provinces in Afghanistan, she hasn’t had it easy. From the very beginning, she met a public backlash against her appointment as an Afghan woman to the top government position in their province. “A woman governor will not be able to bring prosperity to our province,” Hazratullah, a male shopkeeper in the town of Nili, told a UNDP delegation visiting the province just last year.

  • Female Nurses in Demand: UNDP Trains 200+ Young Women to Save Lives in Rural Areas
    May 8, 2017

    23 October 2016, Jalalabad City, Nangarhar – In a very ordinary hostel in Jalalabad, something extraordinary is going on. A young woman is sitting on her hostel bed, bent over a textbook. This is Abida and she is training to be a nurse in a country where most women haven’t even finished primary school. Abida has just finished a long day of classwork and on-the-job training. She’s exhausted, but determined to carry on because nurses are hard to find in her home village, more than 100 kilometres away in Nuristan. In this isolated province, woman commonly die because basic healthcare is unavailable – either because there are no doctors or because women are not allowed to be treated by a man. Thinking about this situation keeps Abida going when her eyes are heavy and her brain numb.

  • Out of Exile: Women Return to Afghanistan to Start New Lives and Businesses with Help from UNDP
    May 8, 2017

    4 January 2017, Mazar-e-Sharif — Gulsoom Kohistani was born in Iran and in her early teens when her family decided to return to Afghanistan after two decades of exile. Along with hundreds of other families, Gulsoom’s family settled in Aliabad – a township 20 kilometers northeast of Balkh’s Mazar-e-Sharif. For most of them, the ongoing insurgency meant it was too dangerous to return to their original homes. They had to start new lives from scratch. For the first few years, Gulsoom and her neighbors wove carpets. But the work was hard and the income small. So UNDP provided equipment and training for 47 of the women to set up a small business producing pickles, spices, jams and spaghetti.

  • No Lingering! UNDP and Religious Leaders Promote Women in Sport and Education
    May 8, 2017

    Bamyan, 9 October 2016 – Bamyan, in central Afghanistan, is a province of snow-capped mountains and difficult travel. But it’s not just the rugged terrain that keeps girls from going to school and taking part in sports. The mind also has mountains that girls need to climb if they want to get equal treatment.

  • Video Update: Religious Leaders Promote Women in Sport and Education
    May 8, 2017

    Masooma and her friends in Bamyan started skiing in 2012. But village gossip made it hard for them to continue. Then local mullah, Abdul Rahman Redwani, started preaching on women’s rights, changing people’s minds and getting the girls back on the slopes.

  • Gender and Women's Studies at Kabul University: A Step Towards Addressing the Gender Gap
    May 8, 2017

    Kabul, 10 July 2016 – Afghanistan is one of the most challenging countries in the world to be a woman – and for a woman to get a decent education. According to World Bank data, net enrollment at the end of the Taliban regime in 2001 was 43% for boys but a miserable 3% for girls. Since 2002, school enrollment has skyrocketed, boosting the number of girls in secondary education from 3% to 36%, but access to higher education remains a challenge, especially in remote areas.

  • One Village One Product: How a Japanese Idea is Changing Lives and Helping Rural Communities
    May 7, 2017

    In March this year, representatives from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), together with officials from the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), and UNDP specialists from Afghanistan and Tajikistan, visited Kyrgyzstan and Japan to see One Village One Product (OVOP) projects in action, and to meet with beneficiaries.

  • Playing to Win: Volleyball Champion Muzhgan Encourages Young Women to Fight for Their Dreams
    Mar 22, 2017

    Muzhgan Sadaat, 23, is a soft-spoken young woman who comes across as happy-go-lucky. But when it comes to following her passion, she won’t surrender to anybody. Muzhgan was ten when she started to play volleyball, but as she grew older, her father thought it wasn’t appropriate for her to continue. “He said our relatives didn’t like it,” recalls Muzhgan. “They believed it was shameful for a girl to play sports.”

  • A Day in Mazar with the Korean Ambassador
    Mar 22, 2017

    25 July 2016, Mazar-e-Sharif – Last week, we were in Mazar-e-Sharif, where, thanks to generous support from the Republic of Korea, UNDP has helped to improve local governance and support local women as they build successful businesses.

  • Bearing Fruit: Japan and UNDP Boost Output for Northern Farmers
    Mar 19, 2017

    Uruzgan, Oct 2015 – The village of Qadam Shahli is split right down the middle by a river. For years, the only way people from one side could visit family members living on the other was via a little wooden bridge.

  • Energy Experts of the Future
    Oct 29, 2017

    Hasan Mahdi, 22, in his last year studying at the engineering faculty at the University of Kabul, has just learned some new scientific skills.

  • Windows of Happiness
    Oct 15, 2017

    Nafisa is a 42-year-old woman from Zinda Jan district in Herat, Afghanistan, married, with five daughters and two sons.

  • Environment Friendly Farming Improves Gender and Economic Equality for Women
    Oct 15, 2017

    Ghuncha Gul is a woman farmer fondly known as ‘honey’ by her villagers as she keeps bees to make honey. She also manages a greenhouse.

  • Peace: the Distant, Hopeful Dream of Every Afghan
    Sep 20, 2017

    One Autumn day in 1998, seven-year old Zarghona Darya was doing her homework on the floor of the family house in Bamyan province, when her father rushed in, shouting “Taliban! Taliban!”

  • Bridge over Troubled Water
    Aug 29, 2017

    Sofi Mohammed Alim, a 67-year old man from Yangi Qala district, Takhar Province, has seen a lot. He remembers the time, not long ago, when the bridge across the River Kildish was so dilapidated that villagers were afraid to cross. “It was a thin wooden structure 30 meters long, and it touched the surface of the water. Yet it was the only way to connect with the rest of the district,” says Sofi. “Walking on that bridge was like being a high-wire walker in the circus. I remember at least two women who lost their babies, because they were unable to cross the bridge to get help.”

  • Muqadasa: Fighting for Peace and Women’s Rights in Afghanistan
    Aug 13, 2017

    Sharp, outspoken and confident: twenty-four-year-old Muqadasa Ahmadzai wears a veil, but it cannot hide these qualities. She was born in the early 90s to a traditional Afghan family in Jalalabad city, Afghanistan. As the ninth girl in a culture which often gives preference to boys, she had to fight for her position from her first breath. Her family adhered to the traditional belief that girls should remain at home after they reach the age of puberty.

  • Female Pilot Encourages Afghan Girls to Let Their Dreams Take Flight
    Jul 19, 2017

    Shaesta Waiz, the first Afghan female pilot, arrived in Kabul last week, the latest stop in a round-the-world trip which sees her visiting 34 destinations over five continents in her Beechcraft Bonanza A36 aircraft. “The purpose of this trip is to inspire young girls to believe in themselves,” said Shaesta, “to believe in what they are capable of doing, regardless of where they are from, or the challenges they have faced in their lives."

  • When the Levee Breaks
    Jul 3, 2017

    Sami Jan, a 45-year-old villager, remembers the day flash floods erupted near his fields in Balkh district, 25 kilometres northwest of Mazar-e-Sharif city in northern Afghanistan. His crops – his sole livelihood—were washed away and he was trapped in the rising water. “I had no way to escape,” said Sami. “I would have died that same day if an army helicopter hadn’t rescued me. But my crops were ruined.” Chimtal River flows through Balkh district, home to 127,000 people, mostly farmers. The river is the main source of irrigation for their farmlands, but over the past decade, flooding from the river has become more frequent and more severe, mainly due to climate change.

  • UNDP and Australia UPGRADE Alice Ghan IDP Camp (PHOTOBOOK)
    May 24, 2017

    August 2016, Kabul – This week, UNDP and the Australian Government kicked off several new projects to improve life and job prospects for the 300 residents of Alice Ghan, a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) about an hour’s drive from Kabul.

  • Hope Springs in AliceGhan: Residents Cherish Better Lives and Incomes
    May 24, 2017

    On March 12, representatives from UNDP, the Australian Government and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) visited AliceGhan township, located 30 kilometers north of Kabul, where, with the help of Australian funding, UNDP has built latrines, kitchens, boundary walls and storage rooms in 300 houses of internally displaced people. One of the residents, Ahmad, says, “We needed a boundary wall to keep our children safe from strangers and wild animals.” The construction work provided over 55,000 labor days over five months.

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