August 27, 2015
Toru Arai, Director General of the JICA South Asia Department, left, and Susan Markham, Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, after the signing
On August 27, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a memorandum with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), confirming the partnership between the two agencies on Promote, a USAID program to support women in Afghanistan. The signing took place at JICA headquarters in Tokyo between Toru Arai, Director General of the JICA South Asia Department, and Susan Markham, Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
The aim of this memorandum is to strengthen the partnership between the agencies to further support the empowerment of women in Afghanistan, where social and economic conditions remain harsh. JICA has provided support for women in Afghanistan in the past, including a gender workshop held in Turkey for female Afghan police officers and a technical cooperation project called ‘’Poverty Reduction for Chronically Poor Women’’ .Through this partnership with USAID, it is hoped that Afghan women who have participated in JICA training will receive further training opportunities from the Promote project and improve their capacity to support Afghan society. It is also hoped that the Promote network will expand and that participants will acquire knowledge and personal contacts, which will develop their self-confidence. Ultimately, it is hoped that the participants will become active in society.
Through this partnership, JICA will contribute to the empowerment of women in Afghanistan.
Launched in November 2014, Promote is a USAID program planned for five years. Targeting 75,000 Afghan women between the ages of 18 and 30, the program aims to promote women’s activities in government agencies, the private sector and civic society. Providing leadership training and household skills training, Promote has four components: 1) women’s leadership development, 2) women in government, 3) women in the economy, and 4) women’s rights groups and coalitions.
During his visit to the U.S. in April 2015, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed the USAID-JICA partnership in Promote, a fact also announced in a fact sheet issued by the Government of Japan.