Enhancing Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Afghanistan (EGEMA) is a collaborative effort between the Afghan Government and UNDP Afghanistan. Its main purpose is to strengthen the Ministry of Women Affairs (MOWA)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 (Gender Equality Project I &II), which implemented effective initiatives and helped the MOWA become the most effective and sustainable government entity. This project is funded by the Government of Korea, United Nations Volunteer and the UNDP core fund.
EGEMA project is in line with National Action Plan for Women of Afghanistan 1 (NAPWA, 2007- 2017) and operates under the following four pillars: 1) A capacitated MoWA is better able to sustainably and independently fulfill its mandate at national and sub-national levels; 2) Nationally educated Gender Experts for advocacy and employment in the public sector and civil society organizations to promote the advancement of women and gender equality at national and sub-national levels are available; 3) MOWA’s capability to engage with line ministries to enable rural women’s economic empowerment; and 4) MOWA’s capacity to engage with line ministries to institute socio-cultural and behavioral transformation reflecting gender sensitivities strengthened.
Enhancing Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Afghanistan (EGEMA) project provides technical assistance to the MOWA to build its capacity and advance gender mainstreaming in government policy and planning process, coordinate and monitor implementation of the NAPWA and take a stronger role in women’s 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 sector.
What we have accomplished so far?
- As of May 2019, 40 Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) officers are working with the 12 sector ministries of Afghanistan. GRB officers and specialists were recruited, placed and trained by EGEMA project in cooperation with UN Women and the Administrative Office of the President (AOP). GRB officers and specialists are reviewing the ministries’ annual budget for 2018-2019 from a gender perspective.
- The MOWA’s Policy Committee finalized three policies; 1) Inheritance Policy of Women (link); 2) Election Policy of Women; and 3) Policy of Protection of Women in War and Emergency Situation, also the MOWA’s Policy Committee reviewed; 1) Land Policy; 2) Energy Efficiency Policy; 3) Pollution Policy; 4) Population Policy; and 5) Media Policy for Women’s Shelters, through the EGEMA project’s support.
- 200 women headed households from the four districts of Daikundi province were hired as beekeepers and improved their skills and knowledge of beekeeping management for all four seasons of the year through a 12-day training programme. In addition, 200 women beekeepers were able to produce and sell honey. These women are organized into 13 groups and register with the Directorate of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock. As a result, they increased their contribution to their household income through the beekeeping farms
- 150 women headed household from Herat province received saffron bulbs-banks as well as automatic and smart featured solar and electric powered saffron dryers. They were equipped with post-harvest management training knowledge and skills.
- In partnership with Kabul University, the Master’s programme in Gender and Women’s studies started in 2015, a total of 51 students (37 women and 15 men) were graduated from the programme, Currently, the third cohort, 30 students (22 women and 9 men) is studying their master’s degree. The main objective of the program is to establish a resource pool of gender experts.
- As the end of 2018, as a result of trainings on women’s rights and gender equality provided through EGEMA project, 800 religious leaders (mullahs) developed an action plan to address gender issues and enhance gender awareness. After the workshop, religious leaders (mullahs) have been raising awareness among the public through daily prayers and Friday’s sermons. The progress is tracked by the Provincial Departments of Haj and Religious Affairs on a regular basis. To raise awareness on gender as well as a future training purpose UNDP Afghanistan in cooperation with the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs have published a book “Women’s Rights in Islam”, which is available in Dari and English.
- As part of the Youth-Mullah Volunteers Caravans initiative, 90 young leaders (52 female and 38 male) were mobilized in 2017 and 2018 and have undergone extensive capacity building trainings on leadership, gender equality, and volunteerism in Kabul, Herat and Balkh provinces. These team leaders facilitated and conducted 24 women’s rights campaigns in their respective provinces. More than 25,530 community members in Herat and Balkh provinces were reached by the network of volunteer advocates through dedicated awareness raising and behavior change campaigns on gender equality and women’s rights as a key message.