Our Stories

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • A New Bridge in Garam Sair District Brings People Closer to Schools and Markets
    May 26, 2016

    More than 2400 Kuchi of Registan area in Bost district have now access to water provided by 20 wells built with support from the National Area-Based Development Programme (NABDP) and UNDP’s Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme (APRP).

  • Local Decision-making Improves Women’s Lives in Afghanistan
    May 26, 2016

    In the village of Jukna in Badghis Province, Gulsatan recalls how in earlier days women had to walk four kilometres daily simply to collect drinking water for their families. The 45-year-old widow, a mother of six, is relieved those days are now past. ”They collected water from uncovered reservoirs which were exposed to impurities. Women were constantly at risk of bacterial and parasitic infections, and their children risked diarrhoeal disease,” she says. This is a common problem across this remote, mountainous province in western Afghanistan. Potable water is scarce, and often brackish or contaminated.

  • Mushroom Cultivation Training In India Opens New Vistas for Afghan Farmers
    May 26, 2016

    Kabul, Afghanistan: Sherpur, a tony neighborhood in the heart of Kabul city and a busy urban sprawl is the most unlikely place to find a vegetable farm. In one of the obscure lanes here surrounded by plush apartment blocks that are home to a gaggle of foreigners, Haji Nisar Ahmad runs a mushroom research and cultivation centre. “Mushrooms can be grown anywhere, from a car-park to an attic, why even a goat shed would do just fine”, Nisar says with a chuckle.

  • Building Peace through Community Involvement
    May 26, 2016

    In Afghanistan, a UNDP programme helps communities come together in peace to develop and prosper. In a remote, rugged province in eastern Afghanistan, the raging waters from the surrounding mountains have often flooded the 8000 homes that line the local river’s path.

  • Women Learn Small Business Skills, Look To Future with Hope
    May 26, 2016

    Aliabad, Mazar-e-Sharif: Five days in a week, Laila, a single mom of five children including an 18-year-old daughter, walks to the Food Processing Center in Aliabad village just outside Mazar city, learning the finer aspects of basic business development.

  • Clean Water for 400 Households in Badghis
    May 26, 2016

    In a remote part of western Badghis province where underground water is mostly salty, people in Dahane Abshar-e-Rigi village of Maqur district responded to their drinking water need by building rainwater reservoirs with US$ 125,000 funding from the National Area-Based Development Programme of UNDP and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.

  • Green Energy and Clean Water Improves Lives in a Village
    May 26, 2016

    Sang-e-Nawishta, Nov 2015 – Sang-e-Nawishta is only a short drive from the centre of Kabul, but until a few months ago the villagers who live here had no running water or electricity.

  • Preserving a pristine landscape in Bamyan
    May 26, 2016

    Jawzari lies in pristine foothills of central Afghanistan’s Baba Mountains, about 15 kilometres south of Bamyan City. It’s an area of great beauty and environmental significance that needs to be preserved – but in a way that protects the livelihoods of Jawzari’s several isolated farming communities who depend on local rangeland for food, fire, water and shelter.

  • Female Rangers, Female Role Models
    May 26, 2016

    Jahanbin is not a man who is easily frightened or thwarted. As a ranger in one of Afghanistan’s two national parks, he’s been out alone in the vast empty spaces of the northern plateau and he’s faced gangs of poachers and crowds of belligerent tourists who don’t want to follow the rules. Unarmed and with the nearest police station several miles away, he’s held his own and talked his way out of trouble until help can arrive.

  • Cleaning up the Streets in Bamyan
    May 26, 2016

    Due to an upsurge in urban migration, new townships are appearing all across Afghanistan. But how do the new residents in these towns dispose of their waste? In Bamiyan’s Zargaran Township, the Green Afghanistan Association (GAA), a local NGO, with support from UNDP and the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme, has put rubbish bins on the streets of this town.

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