Our Stories

  • Muqadasa: Fighting for Peace and Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

    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

    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."

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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Playing to Win: Volleyball Champion Muzhgan Encourages Young Women to Fight for Their Dreams

    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

    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.

  • Scoring Points for Women: Volleyball Teams Compete in Kabul Women's Championship

    UNDP and the Afghan Red Crescent Society organized a volleyball tournament for young women at Kabul University this month - part of the global 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender violence.

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