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Region:Asia Pacific Current UN Women Plan Period Afghanisthan:2018-2022
i-icon World Bank Income Classification:Low Income The World Bank classifies economies for analytical purposes into four income groups: low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high income. For this purpose it uses gross national income (GNI) per capita data in U.S. dollars, converted from local currency using the World Bank Atlas method, which is applied to smooth exchange rate fluctuations. i-icon Least Developed Country:Yes Since 1971, the United Nations has recognized LDCs as a category of States that are deemed highly disadvantaged in their development process, for structural, historical and also geographical reasons. Three criteria are used: per capita income, human assets, and economic vulnerability. i-icon Gender Inequality Index:0.575 GII is a composite metric of gender inequality using three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market. A low GII value indicates low inequality between women and men, and vice-versa. i-icon Gender Development Index:0.723 GDI measures gender inequalities in achievement in three basic dimensions of human development: health, education, and command over economic resources.
i-icon Population:209,497,025 Source of population data: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2022). World Population Prospects: The 2022 Revision Male:19,976,265 (9.5%) Female:189,520,760 (90.5%)
Map Summary
Showing field-based data of 2021
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outcome XM-DAC-41146-AFG_D_1.2

Women have improved capacity, access to resources/knowledge and agency to participate, lead and engage in political processes, including running as elective officials in Afghanistan

In its normative role, UN Women supported the reinforcement of understanding of Afghan women Members of Parliament on gender-sensitive legislation. This was made possible through the development of a gender strategy, a Terms of Reference for a women parliamentarian’s caucus group and women’s affairs commission in the Afghan Parliament, and a transformational leadership programme that was anticipated to support all women Members of Parliament to promote gender equality in Afghanistan and facilitate the revision of existing laws (requiring revision or parliamentary approval). The gender strategy aimed to elevate the goals of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the parliamentary structure by providing the basis for the promotion of dialogue and action in addressing gender issues within the country, and by bringing more coherence to the work of the various entities engaged in these issues in the Afghan Parliament. With the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, there has been a dramatic reversal of progress on women’s participation in political life. By the end of the reporting period, women’s political participation stood at zero – before 15 August 2021, 28 per cent of parliamentarians were women. UN Women had prepared to deliver Gender-Sensitive Media Training to journalists from various media backgrounds, including the traditional, and digital media, to foster an environment where the interests, experiences, and realities of Afghan women become part of the public agenda. Capacity building training was planned for quarter 3 of 2021 but did not take place due to the deteriorating security situation and changes in the operating context following the Taliban takeover in August 2021.
outcome XM-DAC-41146-AFG_D_2.1

Women in Afghanistan have increased access to income generation opportunities and income security

Afghan women’s access to income generation opportunities and income security was increased before August 2021 through the dual strategy of strengthening coordination between actors promoting decent employment and income generation; and through direct support extended to Afghan women entrepreneurs in the form of virtual mentorship, coaching, as well as seed financing. Through the establishment of the Economic Empowerment National Working Group as well as a National Dialogue on Financial inclusion, learning exchanges and dialogues between women’s economic empowerment stakeholders were fostered, and the development of a roadmap to women’s financial inclusion in Afghanistan was promoted. However, the Economic Empowerment National Working Group was chaired by the Ministry of Women Affairs, which was abolished by the Taliban, and the working group, therefore, suspended its meeting post-August-2021. Coming from various Afghan provinces, 21 young Afghan women entrepreneurs succeeded in strengthening their business and financial management skills through (virtual) mentorship, coaching, and exposure visits to neighbouring countries, and accessed seed capital to launch and expand their businesses. Furthermore, a nationwide call for proposals was opened in July 2021, aimed at reaching a new cohort of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, with more than 200 young women shortlisted for capacity-building training on business development as part of the scaled approach to facilitating more Afghan women entrepreneurs to move up key value chains. Following the Taliban’s 2021 military campaign and ultimate seizure of control, which was accompanied by high levels of displacement across the country, this entrepreneurship initiative was placed on hold pending the return of acceptable levels of stability. Emergency support in the form of cash-based interventions was subsequently provided to at-risk Afghan women in the Northern and Western parts of the country.
outcome XM-DAC-41146-AFG_D_3.2

Favorable social norms, attitudes, and behaviors are promoted at individual, community and institutional levels to prevent VAW

Violence against women has been a consistent feature of many Afghan women and girls’ lives. Even before the fall of the Republic of Afghanistan, rates of violence against women and girls were already extremely high across the country, with one study suggesting that 87 per cent of Afghan women experience some form of violence during their lifetime. As a critical step for the development of the National Primary Prevention Framework, UN Women Afghanistan finalized the desk review and training materials on primary prevention, contributing to understanding among key stakeholders (including government, civil society organizations, and donor partners) on what constitutes primary prevention, and supporting the engagement of these stakeholders in developing the Framework. Furthermore, UN Women implemented awareness programmes focused on strengthening understanding of women’s rights and violence against women and girls within communities, as well as COVID-19 preventive measures and guidance to mitigate the spread of the virus. A total of 1,966 women and 1,744 men (during the first and second quarters of 2021) improved their understanding of women’s rights, human rights, and violence against women and girls, as well as COVID-19 preventive measures within local communities. However, security challenges, instability, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic were exacerbated by the fall of the Republican Government and the abolishment of the Ministry of Women Affairs, the national women’s machinery, extensively affecting the implementation of the primary prevention workshops and any subsequent development of the Framework.
outcome XM-DAC-41146-AFG_D_3.3

Women survivors of VAWG have increased access to quality, comprehensive services

In the lead-up to and following 15 August 2021, access to coordinated, comprehensive, and quality services for survivors of violence against women and girls (VAWG) deteriorated, while the need for services increased. Many service points were suspended and referral pathways were disrupted. UN Women thereby supported all partners to sustain their organizational structures and internal practices, with some partners continuing to provide services to VAWG survivors in Kabul – limited to providing safe accommodation and (some) psycho-social support. As of the end of 2021, two Women Protection Centers (WPCs) and three Family Guidance Centers (FGCs) were (re)operational, while partners continued to seek entry points and approvals for the reopening of further centers across other provinces. Furthermore, a quality assessment of the services offered at the WPCs/FGCs was conducted to identify areas for improvement and to standardize the quality of services for VAWG survivors, in line with international standards and best practices. The assessment was finalized and a summary was translated to Dari and Pashto. The assessment documents the existing models and identifies key areas for improvement, including the need for centers that offer a range of services for women and their children; building a case management approach that applies a survivor-centered approach and focuses on the empowerment of women; and maintaining quality and accessible comprehensive services across the country, including through the reinstitution of support helplines and provision of vocational training. The findings of the assessment are being used to inform the redesign and reopening of the centers.
outcome XM-DAC-41146-AFG_D_3.5

Civil society organizations are able to advocate on, and prevent and respond to VAWG through support from the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund & Spotlight Initiative Fund

Before the fall of Kabul, UN Women finalized and signed six project documents with civil society partners selected within the framework of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF)-Spotlight Initiative, with 10 additional partnerships under finalization. UN Women conducted a rapid assessment to understand the status and operationality of the WPHF-Spotlight grantees. All grantees expressed their willingness to continue to implement the proposed programmes, highlighting that their interventions were now more than ever needed. Following the European Union, Spotlight Initiative, and WPHF confirmation that the project can move forward in the new country context, UN Women liaised with the 16 organizations to support them through the contracting and project finalization process.
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