October 01, 2014

US launches $200 million program to boost women’s role in Afghanistan

By Ghanizada - Thu Jul 18 2013, 1:18 pm

US boost Afghan women's role in societyThe U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will launch a $200 million program on Thursday in a bid to boost the role of women in Afghan society.

Head of the USAID in Afghanistan Rajiv Shah said the figure that could double with international support and could reach to $416 million after Australia, Britain, Japan and the European Union had expressed interest in providing money.

The program called “Promote” will be launched with an aim to create more than 3,500 small businesses to generate domestic growth to make up for an expected decline in foreign spending in Afghanistan.

Women between the ages of 18 and 30 will be covered under the program to jobs, to support women entrepreneurs with credit and microfinance, and provide training to women who want a role in policymaking.

“It is a unique effort to ensure that women are a major part of Afghanistan’s social, economic and political fabric over the next decade, because if they’re not Afghanistan is not likely to be successful,” Shah quoted by Reuters said.

Shah emphasized on significant progress on women’s rights issues however he said that sustaining that progress was critical for stability and security in Afghanistan.

Considerable developments in women lives have been achieved following the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, however there are still concerns that withdrawal of U.S.-led forces after elections in 2014 could undermine the position of women and see them retreat, especially if the Taliban increase their political hold.

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