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$280m US program to empower 75,000 Afghan women; helped only 60

AT Monitoring Desk-A $280 million U.S. program, created to help empower women in Afghanistan, has been a “failure and a waste of taxpayers’ money,” according to government oversight group Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

USAID’s program, Promote, was expected to help 75,000 Afghan women enter the workforce. The report listed few women that have been promoted into better jobs as one of the program’s few successes. The head of SIGAR, John Sopko, told the American news agency the group couldn’t “find any good data that they’re helping any women.” USAID disagreed, saying Promote has “directly benefited 50,000 Afghan women.”

Since 2015, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has spent $280 million on a program intended to help tens of thousands of Afghan women enter their country’s work force and gain promotions.

According to a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the program has helped somewhere between no women and roughly 60.

USAID’s “Promote” program is the agency’s “largest women’s empowerment program in [USAID] history,” according to the program’s website. It was supposed to train Afghan women to enter the private and public sectors, and then help them become eligible for promotions in their fields. And it was intended to extend those training and hiring benefits to 75,000 Afghan women.

SIGAR also reported that it is “unclear” whether or not the Afghan government will choose to support the program “as the Afghan government might not be able to hire all of Promote’s graduates.” It is also “unclear whether the graduates will obtain jobs in the private sector in large numbers due to the country’s low projected economic growth rate.”

SIGAR head John L. Sopko told The New York Times that women’s groups found the program to be “poorly designed and oversold.” The program is scheduled to end in 2020, giving it only two years to meet its goal.

We can add Promote’s underwhelming results to a long list of expensive, wasteful, and unsuccessful attempts by the U.S. to help reconstruct Afghanistan. As Sopko testified before the Senate in May, the U.S. has spent $126 billion on reconstruction efforts since 2002.

The failure of program to empower women’s situation in Afghanistan is due to political disinclination, said Roya Dadras, Spokeswoman for the Ministry of Women Affairs.

“Such kind of program, which is vast contribution toward women empowerment is lacking political support.” Despite spending million dollars, women’s situation is in great tense.

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