Afghanistan: US watchdog criticises aid scheme for women's rights

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Programme to empower Afghan women lacks transparency, says watchdog, as Amnesty accuses international community of abandoning Afghan women’s rights defenders

A high-profile US aid scheme in Afghanistan, hailed as the largest ever women’s empowerment programme, has come under criticism for lack of transparency and for failing to consult the women it is supposed to benefit. In another reproach of international aid efforts, an Amnesty International report released on Tuesday details how women’s rights defenders, despite achieving significant gains over the past decade, are being abandoned by the international community.

The US aid scheme Promote, launched in October last year, aims to funnel $416m into programmes to strengthen women’s rights groups and boost women’s role in the economy and national decision-making. However, it is uncertain whether the 75,000 women expected to engage in the programme will actually receive any tangible benefit, says a US watchdog.

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