USAID’s Women in Government Internship Program marked its first three years by celebrating two major milestones this week: the placement of more than 440 interns in government agencies in Kabul, Balkh, Herat, and Nangarhar, and the launch of the Women in Development Association.
In 2013, more than 120 women will work as interns in Kabul. 57 new graduates received their certificates at the event and will start full time jobs.
Since its initiation in 2010, the Women in Government internship program has placed over 440 women in internships with Afghan government institutions and other private and public entities. To date, the program has a 77 percent full-time job placement rate for graduates of the program.
The Women in Development Association is the first association in Afghanistan for women who are seeking assistance finding jobs and additional opportunities for development. This network of current and former interns will provide women with additional opportunities to build their capacity, progress professionally, and work together to support women’s rights in Afghanistan.
“I hope that this association will be a platform for the development of young women,” said Hajira Qatra, former intern and newly-elected president of the Women in Development Association.
The success of this internship program relied heavily on partnership. “The Women in Government Internship Program would not have been successful without the support of our Afghan Government ministry partners and the dedication of the program’s current and former interns,” said Brooke Isham, Deputy Director of USAID.
“This program is key to a successful and sustainable future for Afghanistan. Women are needed in every sphere of society. This is a celebration, and hopefully we will be able to have more events like these,” said Rahima Zarifi, Director General of Planning and Policy at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
The Women in Government internship program is supported by USAID and works to meet the Afghan Government’s goal to increase women’s leadership in the public sector. Currently less than 20 percent of the over 330,000 Afghan Government employees are female. The Afghanistan National Development strategy sets a goal of at least 30 percent.