For Immediate Release

August 9, 2016

Kabul, Afghanistan | August 9, 2016 – Today, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has initiated a new partnerhsip with the Afghan Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) to support President Ghani’s job stimulus initiative through the USAID Promote-Women in the Economy (WIE) program and Promote-Women in Government (WIG), which will place young women between the ages of 18 and 30 in paid internships or apprenticeships, enhancing the workplace skills of women, and improving their chances of getting jobs.

The Afghan government estimates that there are approximately 700,000 job seekers including high school graduates and those with college or university degrees who enter the job market each year with little to no prospects of finding employment.

Through this new partnership, USAID and MoLSAMD will collaborate to ensure that women throughout the country have access to on-the-job training through Promote-WIE internship and apprenticeship programs, and to increase awareness of other opportunities for specialized technical training. MoLSAMD is the primary Ministry of the Government of Afghanistan, tasked to work on labor affairs, and this collaboration serves the partner’s objective of helping women find jobs. This new initiative is expected to engender a sense of social responsibility across the economy around the issues of youth and women’s unemployment.

The Promote-WIG program will collaborate with MOLSAMD to facilitate over 3,000 women’s successful entry to the Afghan civil service by certifying a multi-faceted internship training program and addressing policies and regulations that limit their ability to function equally alongside their male counterparts.

In the next two years, this partnership between MoLSAMD and Promote-WIE will help place 7,500 women across Afghanistan as interns and apprentices. The Ministry will conduct outreach at the province level through its departmental offices and will help with registering host companies willing to give women on-the-job training and better equip them for the job market.

At the signing ceremony, Minister Nasrin Oryakhil said, “This is a promising program providing opportunities for women through employment and this will enhance women’s roles in the economic development of the country. Women have often been overlooked and underutilized and this program provides on-the-job work experience for women and creates the space for Afghan women to compete alongside men in the labor market.”

USAID Mission Director Herbie Smith welcomed the new partnership and the focus on women, stating that “by investing in women we invest in Afghanistan’s future and it is proven that economies that experience the largest reduction in poverty rates are economies where women’s participation in the labor force grew fastest.”

The U.S. Government and international donors have considered the investment in Afghan women to be a top foreign assistance priority over the past 15 years.  As a result of the U.S. and international partnership with the Government of Afghanistan, the women of Afghanistan have made remarkable gains, such as:

  • Over 3 million girls are enrolled in primary and secondary schools;
  • Women’s life expectancy has raised from 42 to 64 years; and
  • More than 62,000 women are enrolled in public universities.

It is precisely because of these successes that the U.S. Government created the Promote program to assist Afghan women to leadership in government, civil society and the economy.

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