U.S-funded programs help Afghan women prepare for a better future

The State Department's Bureau of South Asian Affairs, and its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs are partners in initiatives to help Afghan women and children prepare for a better future, according to a fact sheet issued on January 10.
The ongoing programs, taking place in 2002 and 2003, include everything from teacher training and the refurbishing of Kabul University's women's dormitories to trauma counseling for refugees, an oral history project documenting the experiences of Afghan women, training in small business development, and training for Afghan women lawyers on human rights issues.

These programs add up to well over $1,300,000 in assistance to Afghans.

Universities and non-government organizations (NGOs) are partnering with the State Department to implement these projects. Some of the projects take place in the U.S. - the teacher training project at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, for example, while others take place in Afghanistan.

Following is a detailed list of State Department funded-projects (including the amount of the State Department contribution) for 2002 and 2003:

(begin fact sheet)

U.S.-Funded Programs Help Afghan Women Prepare for a Better Future (Ongoing)

The following list describes projects to help Afghan women, which have been sponsored by the Bureau of South Asian Affairs, and in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

Afghan Teacher Education Project

Thirteen Afghan teachers were sent to the U.S. this year on a four-week training program. The program provided teachers with help in development of curriculum and materials, computer literacy and computers, and provided them with train-the-trainer skills.

Implementing partner: The University of Nebraska-Omaha
Funding: $215,379

"Afghan Women Speak Out: An Oral History"

A six-month project has been launched, and continues until March 2003, to document the experiences of Afghan women over the past decade. The project enables Afghan women for the first time to discuss openly the abuses they suffered under the Taliban. The project will result in a 52-minute documentary, and at the same time, will train the first group of Afghan women journalists in digital media.

Implementing partner: The Asia Foundation with AINA (a French NGO)
Funding: $75,000

Friends for Afghan Redevelopment

Six Afghan women will be trained in small business development at the University of Nevada during three weeks early next year. As part of the program, participants will meet with Afghan-American women in Fremont, California who have started their own small businesses. The proposal includes developing a Dari-language manual for a women's small business center at Kabul University.

Implementing partner: University of Nevada-Reno
Funding: $60,000

International Human Rights Law Group Lawyer Training

This program trains Afghan women lawyers and provides for mobile legal clinics for women in refugee camps in Pakistan and inside Afghanistan. The goal of the program, which continues until March 2003, is to enable Afghan women lawyers to become more effective advocates for human rights and to act as a counterweight to religious extremists in the development of Afghanistan.

Implementing partner: International Human Rights Law Group
Funding: $251,000

PARSA Project (Afghanistan-based non-governmental organization)

This program, which continues until March 2003, provides for the establishment of 10 neighborhood-based Women's Centers in several Afghan cities. The Centers are set up as vocational training, networking and social service centers for widows and orphans.

Implementing partner: The Asia Foundation/PARSA
Funding: $75,000

Refurbishing of Kabul University's Women's Dormitories

This project helps rebuild and refurbish dormitories to allow hundreds of women students to attend Kabul University.

Implementing partner: Kabul University
Funding: $100,000

Roger Williams College

The college has arranged five full scholarships for Afghan women students at three colleges in the United States, which began in the Fall semester, 2002.

Implementing partner: Roger Williams College
Funding: $18,000 (travel expenses)

Trauma Training and Counseling for Afghan Refugees

Under this project, which continues until June, 2003, 10 health care professionals, teachers, and others will be trained in trauma counseling to help victims of war and terrorism.

Implementing partner: University of Missouri-International Center for Psychosocial Trauma
Funding: $60,000

Women's Intercultural Network

California Women's Alliance, a network of over 6000 NGOs in California, in a program early next year, will concentrate on NGO development related to education and training for women and girls. U.S. partners are the American Association of University Women, Kansas State University, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Implementing partner: Women's Intercultural Network
Funding: $60,000

U.S.-Funded Programs Help Afghan Women Prepare for a Better Future (Completed)

International Human Rights Law Group Advocacy Training

This program provided Afghan women political activists with the opportunity to travel to the U.S. to participate in an international advocacy training program on human rights in preparation for the Emergency Loya Jirga.

Implementing partner: International Human Rights Law Group
Funding: $63,000

Seeds of Peace

The first U.S. Department of State-sponsored exchange program with Afghanistan. Twelve youth leaders--six girls and six boys--were brought to the U.S. to learn peace-building and attend a seminar on conflict resolution. The program will double to cover 24 youths in Summer 2003 at a cost of $150,000.

Implementing partner: Seeds of Peace
Funding: $73,600

U.S. Leadership Management and Computer Education

This was an International Visitor/training project for 14 Afghan women from various Afghan government ministries who spent a month learning about leadership management, computer education, and proposal writing, as well participating in meetings with important US, UN, and other officials.

Implementing partner: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Voluntary Visitor Division
Funding: $250,000

(end fact sheet)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: