A second group of ten Afghan women, recipients of the European Union-funded scholarships, came to Kazakhstan for further training, the regional OSCE press service announced on December 9th.
Students begin their academic journey with online English courses at Almaty Management University (AlmaU) language school. Upon successful graduation, they will enroll in one of the best universities in Kazakhstan – the Kazakh-British Technical University – to study mining.
“The project runs under a EUR 2 million grant from the EU to support Afghan women in their pursuit of higher education. In total, by 2025, 50 Afghan women will receive higher, technical and professional training at various universities in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, ”said the OSCE. “The empowerment of women through education has tremendous personal and economic implications as it provides an opportunity to realize a person’s potential and ability to contribute to their communities after returning to Afghanistan,” he added.
“Women are central to economic growth and sustainable development, and their economic empowerment is critical to a country’s progress. According to the new EU strategy for Central Asia, it is in the common interest of the EU and the Central Asian states to intensify cooperation to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan. In other words, without a peaceful Afghanistan there will be no prosperous Central Asia. Linking Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan through an “educational bridge” strengthens the social and economic links between them, thus helping to address security challenges and helping to ensure a more peaceful and prosperous future for the region, the press service quoted the EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Sven-Olov Carlsson.
The first group of 30 Afghan women came to Almaty in October 2019. You have successfully completed the language training and enrolled in Bachelor, Master and Technical and Professional Education (TVET) programs to study Agriculture, Finance and Mining at Satbayev University in Kazakhstan Technical University and Kazakh National Agrarian University. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, students are currently taking academic courses online.
Afghan women face disproportionate barriers to access to education and employment compared to their male counterparts. According to the UNDP 2019 Human Development Report, only 13 percent of all adult Afghan women have completed secondary education, while 37 percent of adult men have completed secondary education. Poverty, security issues, gender stereotypes and social norms are the main causes of limited access to education for Afghan women.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Kazakhstan is an implementing partner of the initiative. Yakup BerisThe Kazakhstan-based UNDP representative said: “UNDP in Kazakhstan is very proud to be part of this important joint initiative. We firmly believe that society cannot develop without the full and active participation of women. Empowering women by removing existing barriers and inequalities is essential for them to be equal to men and to contribute to their communities and economies. “
This summer the project was officially launched in Uzbekistan. Ten Afghan women became scholarship holders to study agriculture at the Education Center for the Training of Afghan Citizens in Termez (ECTAT). All 50 women have already been selected and are currently in various stages of education in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.