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USAID Announces New Program to Support Afghan Women

Article by Sara Van Wie July 19, 2013 //   3 minute read

The United States declared its continued commitment to securing the future for women in Afghanistan when it announced Promote at an event hosted by the United States Institute of Peace on Thursday.  Promote, a 5-year, $400 million project, will be the largest single investment that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has made to support the women of any nation. 

Promote is a strategic investment in Afghan women at a critical moment in the nation's history, when gains for Afghan women are significant, but fragile.  The project will build on existing and previous USAID programs focused on empowering women in Afghanistan, and will specifically target young, educated Afghan women, ages 18-30.  The goal of the project is to enable these young women to advance to the next level of leadership in economic, political and civil sectors of Afghan society.  Through the Promote project, the U.S. government seeks to significantly increase women's contributions to economic growth in Afghanistan; strengthen women's rights groups and coalitions; achieve a "critical mass" of women in government decision-making bodies; and ensure that women have the leadership and management skills necessary to be effective leaders.  Promote will serve 75,000 young women over a 5-year period by providing scholarships to Afghan universities, provide training for 3,500 women-owned businesses, and support civil society coalitions in their efforts to establish and enforce laws protecting women's rights. 

USAID Administrator, Rajiv Shah, stated that Promote would reflect a "new model" for development funding to Afghanistan, one that "embraces partnerships across government, civil society, the private sector and development partners."  $175 million of Promote's funding will remain contingent on the Government of Afghanistan's commitment to the standards set forth in agreements made in Tokyo in 2012.  These commitments include credible efforts to fight corruption, clear and credible actions to hold free, fair and openly observable elections in 2014, and specific efforts to maintain, strengthen and enforce legislation that protects the human rights of women and girls. 

The Bush Institute applauds Promote and the U.S. government's continued commitment to the women and girls of Afghanistan.