Many Afghan women and girls are illiterate due to cultural norms and oppressive measures enforced during the Taliban regime. Denied the opportunity to learn marketable skills, these women and their families lack employment opportunities and face poverty. Today, there is a critical need for vocational training that reaches out to women.
USAIDâs Initiative to Promote Afghan Civil Society (I-PACS) program works to improve the effectiveness of Afghan civil society organizations. The program provides training and support to local organizations that are working to create a more democratic, gender-equitable Afghanistan. For example, the Kandahar Health and Development Organization (KHDO) has conducted computer and English training for girls and young women in the province to increase their employability and, ultimately, their financial independence, is one project supported through the I-PACS program.
After attending an I-PACS workshop on proposal writing, KHDO staff members put these skills into practice, submitted a proposal to the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team, and received $19,000 to run extracurricular computer and English-language classes for adolescent girls.
KHDO provided the enrichment courses for girls attending Ainu High School in Kandahar City in 2009. Led by three qualified female teachers, a class of 70 girls became skilled in computer operation and basic English speaking and writing. âIf these courses were offered somewhere else, not at the school, I donât think I or other parents would feel comfortable letting our daughters attend. However, we are happy that they are getting this extra opportunity inside their own school, where it is safe and we know the staff,â said one studentâs father.
Because of the training, one girl passed the entrance exam for Kabul University, and Canadaâs SAIT Polytechnic accepted two girls into their online management degree program. At the end of the project, KHDO donated the computers and other equipment to the Ainu High School.
By supporting and providing capacity-building interventions to organizations such as KHDO, USAID and implementing partner Counterpart are not only strengthening Afghan civil society, but are also able to support local Afghan groups that directly address the needs of women and girls.
June 4, 2014