For Immediate Release

January 11, 2016

Kabul, Afghanistan First Lady Rula Ghani gave the keynote graduation address today to more than 300 USAID Promote Women’s Leadership Development students at Amani High School.

Mrs. Ghani delivered the commencement address to the first graduating class of USAID Promote Women’s Leadership Development Program (WLD).  The occasion marks a milestone in the implementation of Promote, USAID’s largest women’s empowerment program in the agency’s 53-year history. A total of 689 women around the country have completed the program.

“If you want the change you champion to be efficient and long term, you need to work from within your society,” said Mrs. Ghani. “You need to build on those aspects that are positive, on the existing support networks such as the extended family, the culture of mediation, and the tradition of helping each other.”

The Promote Jawana curriculum is a 12-week program designed to provide 18,000 young Afghan women holding high school or university degrees with the sophisticated, cutting edge leadership skills to enable them to transform their lives, their communities, and their nation.

“These young women are trained, and they possess the savvy and the passion to work towards a stronger, more secure, and more inclusive Afghanistan,” said Lida Hedayat, speaking on behalf of USAID Mission Director Herbie Smith. Hedayat runs the Women’s Leadership Program.

“As we all know, education plays a crucial role as the hallmark of a civilized society, is the engine of our economy and the foundation of our culture,” says Minister of Women’s Affairs Delbar Nazari. “It is my sincere hope that the knowledge and skills gained through this program will enable its graduates to have a great impact on Afghan society.”

Women’s Leadership Development is one of four programs under the five-year Promote umbrella. Promote aims to build on the gains Afghan women have made over the last decade by providing 75,000 educated women between18 and 30 from across the country with leadership skills to advance into decision-making positions in the political, economic and social sectors of Afghan society.