Theses Master's

Interrogating Impact: A Critical Analysis of Donor Support for Projects supporting Women in Afghanistan

Yari, Gaisu

Billions of Dollars Allocated to Women’s Projects in Afghanistan: Why Their Impact Has Been Limited?

Women have remained at the forefront of development after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan due to the involvement of international donors, such as UN agencies, independent organizations, and government aid in order to stabilize the country and promote a more prosperous society. Gender equality and female empowerment emerged in different initiatives or programs both at the policy level and in practice. Now, more than a decade has passed, and Afghan women still struggle to have basic rights in most provinces. With billions of dollars dedicated to women-related programs, Afghan women still question the efficiency of these programs, and question the real impact of these initiatives. Hence, this research aims to provide answers to the question, “Inspite of massive international aid for women in Afghanistan, how has the situation of women not improved as much as expected, yet the same policies and mechanisms are maintained?” When considering Afghanistan’s struggle in an ongoing conflict, a qualitative research method is used to answer the research question. I have interviewed current donor employees, researchers, and NGO partners who have implemented projects that advance and support the rights, health, and lives of women to examine the theoretical framework of neoliberalism in development, the structure of NGOs in developing countries, and the lack of accountability toward beneficiaries. The data from these interviews demonstrate women-related projects’ implementation that did not meet its goals and remained insufficient based on project designs, current policies in place, and less attention toward female empowerment in the country. This research concludes that policies are hard to be changed, but donors continue designing and implementing their programs without any need assessments and taking credits for recent achievements of Afghan women.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Bickford, Louis N.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
November 2, 2018