Afghanistan Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Services Program(IRP) written in English, Dari and Pashto
Keshim-Faizabad Road, looking upstream on Kotcha River Schoolgirls at well pumping clean water Afghan workers building part of a bridge Asphalt being laid on an Afghan road A section of North West Kabul Power Plant Aerial view of the Kajakai Dam

Hard at Work: Young Afghan Women Break the Mold
Afghan woman in a hard hat checks diesel fuel dispensed from tanker truck.
New opportunities are fostering growth and professionalism in the lives of young Afghan women, like Wahida, a technician at the USAID-funded Tarakhil Power Plant.
Stereotypes are fading in Afghanistan, where many women are occupying non-traditional positions previously reserved for men. at the USAID-funded Tarakhil power plant near Kabul, women are proving that they are every bit as qualified as men to contribute to the development of their country.

Twice a day, Senior Fuel Attendant Wahida pulls on her boots, safety glasses, and hard hat to oversee the safe discharge of diesel fuel into underground tanks at this state-of-the-art power generating plant. In her first job at Tarakhil, when the plant was being built, Wahida was the inspector who tested the high-wire scaffoldings to ensure that the platforms could bear the weight of workers. She used that information to recommend when harnesses or safety cables were required, keeping workers safe and construction on track.

“Being a woman in construction—this is a first time experience,” Wahida said. “There was teasing, but I didn’t pay attention to it.”

The same is true for Monisa, assistant to the director of information technology at the USAID sponsored Afghanistan Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Program. After years of on-the-job training, she is proficient in many areas of information technology - from computer applications to hardware. When her job requires it, she scrambles under office desks to hook up computers and printers or climbs on ladders to check out wireless routers.

“Women say that this is a man’s job,” Monisa said, “that it’s too hard for women to do. But I know computers, and this is what I like.”

These non-traditional opportunities have fostered growth and professionalism in the lives of these young women. Both in turn have made significant contributions to the success of USAID-funded programs that are rebuilding their country and helping to create a successful future for other young women in Afghanistan.

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