In addition to the academic studies, the initiative provides extra-curricular activities for the students throughout their winter and summer holidays, such as ‘Winter School’. The Winter School workshops for Afghan women aim to improve their leadership skills and increase awareness on gender equality, expansion of social and economic rights and opportunities for women, social inclusion, peace, security, and provide tools for personal and professional development for women.
Winter School consisted of both theoretical and practical classes, with interactive activities and guest lecturers from private and public sectors. The training programme offered three modules, namely "Gender Equality and Women's Rights", "Economic Empowerment of Women" and "Building Peace and Behavior Change for the Development of Society and Country".
The practical and theoretical knowledge gained will help the students from Afghanistan, upon returning to their homeland, to promote gender equality, secure decent employment, and create opportunities for themselves.
The first cohort of Afghan women arrived in Kazakhstan in October 2019, while the second group of scholarship recipients arrived in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the fourth quarter of 2020. Afghan students in Uzbekistan will enter the Program of Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Agronomy at the Tashkent State Agrarian University. The new group of women in Kazakhstan will study Mining at Kazakh-British Technical University.
This cross-border initiative, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by UNDP, allows Afghan women to study and graduate from universities in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The initiative aims to provide educational opportunities for Afghan women, who face disproportionate barriers to education and employment compared to their men counterparts back home. Overall, 50 young women from Afghanistan will receive education in Central Asian universities until 2025.