Frequently Asked Questions

Question: I have heard that only Afghan women participate in the project. Is this true?

No, it is important to include men in the project. Afghan men and women both aspire to work together on women’s empowerment to the benefit of the entire society. Gender equity will not occur unless men participate. Alienating one half of the population will only lead to an even greater gender gap and increase already pervasive gender-based inequities. It is essential to have male family members buy into the concepts being promoted.

Question: I have heard that religious leaders will be involved in the project. What role will they play?

Several experts and the Technical Working Group members recommend recruiting open-minded Islamic religious experts to support WLD objectives. This is because Afghans want to know whether women’s empowerment is consistent with Islamic teaching—particularly families and male relatives who must buy-into the project in order to ensure success. An Islamic scholar can provide examples and stories of women’s empowerment within the context of Islam, which will then be incorporated into the curricula.

Question: I have heard that the project will not with examine Shari'a-related issues. Is this true?

No, this isn’t true! To a great extent, the Afghan Constitution and Civil Code relies on Shari'a law. All aspects of the Afghan Civil Code will be honored in this project.

Question: Isn't USAID’s Promote Women's Leadership Development project just another training program?

USAID’s Promote Women’s Leadership Development project is not just another training program. Short courses and seminars are just a piece of the puzzle. Participants will also engage in field visits inside the country, benefit from mentorship opportunities; on-the-job learning (mainly through career development partnerships with major Afghan employers, established through Public-Private Partnerships) and apprenticeships to “intermediary service organizations” designed to supplement classroom training and to offer personal enrichment through art, music and athletics.

Question: What will happen when the project ends?

Through the Knowledge Management Platform, the project will establish alumni networks that will enable mentorship opportunities and making sure all Promote beneficiaries are united into a community of practice. Beneficiaries are also encouraged to take advantage of scholarship, internship and mentorship opportunities, in addition to applying for other Promote Task Order programs.

Question: Is Promote just for women living in Kabul?

Promote is not only geared towards women living in urban centers. While the program specifically targets educated women and is designed to assist them to move into influential positions within government and private sectors, WLD—and indeed all Promote Task Orders—are obligated to ensure the welfare, rights and opportunities of all Afghan women. This includes advocating for the rural and urban poor who have been deprived of education or opportunities for personal growth. Promote aims to ensure that a “gender agenda” does not remain relegated to the fringes of the national policy and programming but is central to Afghanistan‘s political, social and economic advancement.

Question: Isn't Promote just for elite women?

Although Promote is based on the premise that a substantial, crosscutting investment will begin to produce a critical mass of women leaders operating in key, mainstream sectors in Afghanistan, the aim is to improve conditions for all Afghan women.

The aim of Promote is to transform the decision-making paradigm at the mid-to-upper levels of government, civil society and the economy, thereby enabling women‘s perspectives and priorities to shape the national agenda. The idea is that a critical mass of progressive women occupying key economic posts will eventually significantly improve the lives of girls and women regardless of socio-economic background. This will result in a more inclusive and sustainable social, political and economic future for the country overall.

Question: How were Afghan women involved in developing the program?

Promote was designed in response to requests from Afghan women for opportunities to contribute substantively to their country’s social, political, and economic progress. For two years, Afghan women from government, the private sector, and civil society were consulted about the needs, perspectives, and priorities of women at all levels in Afghanistan. Promote represents the end result of the collection, compilation and the synthesis of these consultations.

Question: Are Afghan Women still involved in the planning process?

USAID’s Promote Women Leadership Development’s (WLD) Technical Working Group of nine women and two men provide pro-bono advice to the project and serve in a consultative capacity to ground-truth the approach. Prominent Afghan women leaders have already been engaged in providing comments to the Leadership and Management curriculum. A group of 20 Afghan women and men reviewed all WLD curricula in a retreat setting in New Delhi in the period January 17-19, 2015. Participant selection is done through a consultative, inclusive process involving local selection committees with representatives from local governments, NGOs, DOWAs, and women’s associations. WLD continues to consult with a wide array of Afghan stakeholders—to educate them about the program and request input to ensure that the program content is properly tailored to the needs of Afghan women.

Question: Is all of the money being spent by US Contractors?

All of the Task Orders that make up Promote carefully monitor spending to ensure that monies are spent wisely and that programming is efficient and sustainable in the long run. USAID Promote Women’s Leadership Development (WLD) works with key local subcontractors. These complement Tetra Tech’s implementation and operational experience with local solutions and niche technical skills. Most of USAID Promote WLD participants will receive management and leadership training through Task Order university partners or local subcontracts that have undergone competitive bids or grants to NGOs. USAID’s Promote Women’s Leadership Development will roll about 10.5 million in local subcontracts and 6.5 million in local grants.

Question: What are Life and Work Skills?

Life and work skills are fundamental to success. Often seen as separate (or more basic) than academic skills, life skills are in fact integral to any academic, vocational or entrepreneurship program.

Question: Why are Life Skills important?

Skills such as time management, study habits, learning styles and other concepts are required for academic success. These assist students to navigate complex academic environments, organize information and learn. In a vocational or entrepreneurship program, life skills include managing money, basic health, communication or critical thinking—in addition to the ‘soft skills’ necessary to conduct business—basic courtesy, the ability to listen and to negotiate. Afghan girls and women who have little access to social contact outside the family, will particularly benefit from basic knowledge of civil society, goal setting and planning that will enable them to feel part of the larger society.

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