The event was attended by the EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Sven-Olov Carlsson, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Roman Vassilenko, UNDP Resident Representative Yakup Beris and Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to Kazakhstan Mohammad Farhad Azimi.
Students from Afghanistan took a week-long introductory course at Alma U, where they learned about the program of the upcoming training, had a tour around the campus and gained an understanding about the conditions of the University, as well as the cultural peculiarities of Kazakhstan. Now they will have an 8 months-long course of in-depth study of English language with further admission to the bachelor's, master's and technical programs in Kazakhstani universities.
«We believe that women are central to economic growth and sustainable development and that their economic empowerment is crucial to each country's progress and prosperity. At the core of the common approach between the EU, Afghanistan and Central Asia, is our firm conviction that investing in education by connecting three countries like Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, we can help strengthening the social and economic linkages among them, thus also contributing to addressing common security challenges and promoting a more peaceful and prosperous world», ‒ said EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Sven-Olov Carlsson.
The European Union will finance a grant of EUR 2 million for a triangular cooperation project that will enable Afghan women to graduate from higher education and vocational training institutions in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
«Promoting women’s economic empowerment, ensuring gender equality, and facilitating easy access to education are priorities UNDP continuously works on around the world. Here in Kazakhstan, we promoted education opportunities for women from Afghanistan in the past as part of the cooperation with the Government of Kazakhstan. I am very happy that this new initiative is building on this past experience and is entrusted by the European Union to UNDP for implementation. We see this as partnership in action and will work towards building its sustainability», ‒ said UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan Yakup Beris.
Between now and 2025, 50 students will attend bachelor’s, master’s and technical degrees in agriculture, applied statistics and mining at academic establishments across Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In addition, UN Women will organize summer schools that will train the women in entrepreneurship and networking to contribute to their post-study employment and thus economic empowerment.
The initiative is expected to help create new business and employment opportunities for the women and their communities back in Afghanistan. According to the 2018 UNDP Human Development Report, 11 percent of all adult Afghan women have reached at least a secondary level of education and only 19.5 percent are employed, while these numbers are 37 percent and 87 percent for men, respectively. In 2016-2017, more than half of the Afghan population was living below the poverty line.
For additional information, please contact:
Marat Raimkhanov, Communications Consultant for UNDP in Kazakhstan at firstname.lastname@example.org; +7 (7172) 696544
Elnara Bainazarova, Press and Information Officer, EU Delegation to Kazakhstan at email@example.com; + 7 (7172) 974567