Enhancing Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Afghanistan (EGEMA)

Gulsom, 24, originally from Ghor province. Before joining this women’s cooperative, she used to weave carpets to earn money but this is more profitable. Her husband’s income is not enough, so the money Gulsom earns is vital to support their children. UNDP provided this women’s cooperative in Mazar-e-Sharif with equipment, training and help to access new markets. Now the women are using their savings to buy land and build a new production facility that will hugely increase output. Photo: © UNDP / S. Omer Sadaat



This Project is a collaborative effort between the Afghan Government and UNDP Afghanistan. Its main purpose is to strengthen the Ministry of Women Affairs so that it can implement, monitor and report on national and international commitments that affect women. This project will build upon the best practices and lessons learned from the previous UNDP gender projects (GEP I &II), which implemented effective initiatives and helped MOWA become a most effective and sustainable government entity.

EGEMA project is in line with National Action Plan for Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA) and operates under the following three pillars: 1) Institutional capacity strengthening of MoWA, which aims to turn the ministry into an efficient body to coordinate and oversee national and international commitments impacting women; II) Women’s livelihoods strengthening, to enable improved access to sustainable incomes and livelihoods strategies for women; and III) Gender transformative approaches, to support behavioral and socio-cultural changes at the grassroots levels.


Enhancing Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Afghanistan (EGEMA) project provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWA) to build its capacity and advance gender mainstreaming in government policy and planning process, coordinate and monitor implementation of National Action plan of Women, and take stronger role in women economic empowerment, behavioral socio-cultural changes toward gender equality, as well as creating a cadre of nationally educated gender experts that are ready to be employed in public and private sectors.

What we have accomplished so far?

  • In cooperation and partnership with UN Women and the Administrative Office of the President, Gender Responsive Budgeting Pilot Project has started in twelve ministries of Afghanistan.
  • Policy advisory support provided to key sector ministries to incorporate gender equality elements in their local governance policies, strategic plans and legislation.
  • Within our, Women’s Economic Empowerment component, whole supply chain models for women’s entrepreneurship together with cost-benefit and return on investment analysis tested and piloted. Unique business model developed in Kabul, namely Production, Demonstration and Training Center. These interventions allowed for 450 women from rural areas are being employed in Herat, Daikundi and Kabul provinces.
  • In partnership with Kabul University, twenty-two students (15 women, 7 men) were able to complete their Master’s programme in gender and women’s and graduate in October, 2017. New cohorts of students enrolled in 2018. This programme’s objective is to create a pool of national gender experts.
  • Annually, around 150 religious leaders (mullahs) are trained on women’s rights and gender equality. For the purpose of raising awareness and training, UNDP and the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs have published together a book “Women’s Rights in Islam” which is currently available in Dari (contact project staff to obtain a copy). The mullahs have been raising awareness among the public at their Friday sermons.
  • As part of the Youth-Mullah Volunteers Caravans initiative, 20 young leaders were mobilized in 2017 and have undergone extensive capacity building, leadership, gender equality and volunteerism training in Kabul city. These team leaders facilitated and conducted cascade trainings in their provinces (Balkh and Herat) to the peers thus enlarging the network to 49 active members as of end of 2017. More than 16,000 community members in Herat and Balkh provinces were reached by the network of volunteer advocates through dedicated awareness raising and behaviour changing campaigns on gender equality and women’s rights as a key message.



Project start date:

May 2016

Estimated end date:

April 2018

Focus area:

  • eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions
  • accelerate structural transformations
  • Project office:

    UNDP in Afghanistan

    Implementing partner:

    United Nations Development Programme

    Funding Support by

    Donor name

  • United Nations Development Pro
  • Government Of Republic Of Korea
  • Amount contributed


    Delivery in previous fiscal year

    2019 $287,865

    2018 $1,755,470

    2017 $1,624,259

    2016 $667,503

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