Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a U.S. government watchdog agency, released data showing that a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded gender equality program, put in place to advance women, is failing to make its mark.
“It is unclear whether the agency can deliver the opportunities it promised the women of Afghanistan,” the report declared. The inspector general recommended the agency reevaluate the program before spending the remaining U.S. taxpayer-funded budget.
The Promoting Gender Equity in National Priority Programs (Promote) five-year initiative was established, with a cost tag of US$216 million, to empower tens of thousands of women at all levels of society. After more than 3 years and US$89.7 million spent, USAID/Afghanistan is unable to indicate any progress in the program’s objectives.
"Promote is a joint commitment by the U.S. and Afghan governments that will work to empower 75,000 women between the ages of 18-30 and help ensure these women are included among a new generation of Afghan political, business, and civil society leaders," USAID stated.
But, the program has only completed 2.6 percent of its goal.
The agency has no established commencement point from which to monitor or evaluate the progress over the initial 2 years of the operation.
Five of the seven donor country representatives told SIGAR that USAID held unrealistic expectations regarding the contributions of foreign donors.
No international donors had contributed as of January 2018 and only 55 of a target 2,100 women found new or better employment circumstances with the Afghan government, as of September 2017.
The program is scheduled to wrap up in 2020/2021 but has only managed to find 39 of 420 women new or better employment, enroll just 995 of 1,968 in apprenticeship programs, and graduate only 132 of 900, as of late September 2017, falling well short of its year-three indicator.