Kabul Launch of HDR Stirs a Buzz and Conversation on Employment among Afghan Youth

Poverty Reduction
Manzoor Khaliq, ILO Representative for Afghanistan; Douglas Keh, UNDP Country Director; Mark Bowden, UN Resident Representative for Afghanistan; Nasir Ahmad Durrani, Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and Dr. Ahmad Shah Salehi, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs sit on the panel discussion about HDR 2015. Photo: UNDP Afghanistan / Ahmad Ali Fakhri / 2016

10 February 2016, Kabul — UNDP’s Human Development Report 2015 launch kicked of Tuesday afternoon at the American University of Afghanistan with an impressive turnout—over two hundred civil society activists, government officials, private sector representatives, journalists, students and UN staff, with one third of them women.

 

Audience engagement as they posted their reactions to the panel discussion using hashtags #HDR2015 and #HDR2015Kabul was huge and has already created a significant buzz about human development—nationally and globally— and a countrywide conversation around employment for youth in Afghanistan.

 

Highlights

  • Kabul launch of HDR 2015 kicked off with an impressive turnout of over 200 participants, with one third of them women.
  • Audience engagement on social media using hashtags #HDR2015 and #HDR2015Kabul has already created a significant buzz about human development.
  • The HDR 2015 launch in Kabul was shown live on Ariana News.
  • Douglas emphasised the finding in the report that there are significant imbalances in relation to jobs between men and women that need to be addressed
  • “MRRD follows the human development approach in all its projects and interventions across the country,” said Minister Durrani.
  • The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs tries to identify skills the market looks for and then develop skill sets that can create jobs.

The HDR 2015 launch in Kabul was shown live on Ariana News and a number of major radio, TVs and news websites are also covering the event.

 

After a warm welcome from the president of the American University, Dr. Mark A. English, the theme of 2015's Human Development Report—“Work for Human Development”—was discussed by Douglas Keh, UNDP Country Director; Nasir Ahmad Durrani, Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development; Dr. Ahmad Shah Salehi, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs; and Manzoor Khaliq, ILO Representative for Afghanistan.

 

Moderated by Mark Bowden, UN Resident Representative for Afghanistan, the panel discussed the report, its relevance to Afghanistan and how the Afghan government and partners have responded to growing unemployment in the country. 

 

 President of the American University, Dr. Mark A. English gives his welcome remarks at the HDR launch 2015. Photo: UNDP Afghanistan / Farhad Zalmai / 2016

Mr. Keh shared highlights of the report and explored how work and human development are interlinked. He referred to “work” rather than “paid jobs” as an important factor in development, recognising the contribution of women who hugely contribute to human prosperity. “The work women do at home should be valued,” said Mr. Keh. He emphasised the finding in the report that there are significant imbalances in relation to jobs between men and women that need to be addressed.

 

Mr. Durrani mentioned examples of his ministry’s rural interventions that have created rural jobs, engaged communities in voluntary work and helped establish small and medium enterprises. He also pointed out that volunteer work has deep roots in Afghan rural tradition, a great example of which is “Asher”, in which rural people gather to carry out a social service, such as cleaning an irrigation canal. “MRRD follows the human development approach in all its projects and interventions across the country,” added Mr. Durrani.

 

Briefing the audience on national employment schemes and regulations protecting workers’ rights, Dr. Salehi shared his ministry’s plans to embark on a national internship programme within the civil service, exploring opportunities to deploy skilled labour to gulf states as well as developing regulations and laws to protect the rights of blue collar employees. Dr. Salehi said, “I don’t think we suffer from lack of skills, but rather from a lack of information about the market.” Currently training over 10,000 youth—men and women— in a number of vocations in the country, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs tries to identify skills the market looks for and then develop skill sets that can create jobs.
 

 A participant raises a question with a panelist at the Kabul launch of the HDR 2015. Photo: UNDP Afghanistan / Farhad Zalmai / 2016

Mr. Khaliq touched upon the ILO’s efforts in encouraging employers to ensure gender inclusion and identifying employment opportunities and initiatives to create jobs. “The ILO, together with its government partners, is trying to create potential in the areas of skills development and microenterprises,” said Mr. Manzoor. His organisation works with the Afghan government on a mechanism to certify people with technical and vocational skills.

 

Concluding the panel discussion, Mr. Bowden said that the private sector is important in creating jobs and that women should be proactively engaged in the labour force. “I’m happy that the United Nations and the Afghan government are committed to fixing the worsening situation of employment in Afghanistan, though it is a huge challenge to face,” said Mr. Bowden. 

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