Among the many problems women face in Afghanistan, working women also grapple with lack of appropriate facilities for their children when former leave for work. Many female students and faculty members at universities also face the same problem, which often ensues in their dropout.
The female higher education enrollment rate is around two percent of the relevant age-group in Afghanistan. Access to higher education is limited for females due to early marriage and raising children.
To promote the enrollment of female students at public universities, HEDP in line with the NHESP-II implemented a variety of physical facilities and equipment, including the establishment of child care centers at six universities.
These Centers consist of rooms for kindergarten, class rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, staff offices, halls, playgrounds and bathrooms, a perfect place for young children to stay at during the time their mothers are busy with official duties.
The child care center, established at Parwan University in 2020 significantly contributed to the increase of female students. As of mid-2021, Parwan University accommodates around 1,000 female students, of whom more than 10% are estimated to be married and bearing children.l More than 30 children are accommodating the child care center on daily basis.
A female student, studying at Literature faculty of Parwan University said, “If I didn’t have access to the child care center, I probably wouldn’t be in university now”. She expressed her highest level of satisfaction of the services provided by the center.
“By establishing the child care center, it is as HEDP has provided my 18-month daughter a second comfy home.” says Abrin Sattari, a Lecturer at English Department of Language and Literature faculty of the University.
The additional major interventions HEDP has made over the past 5 years in this regard are: providing 25 mini buses to facilitate female students’ commute to universities, establishing 6 counseling centers to help students in their career building, securing 25,000 seats for female in Kankor to increase the female enrollment in priority programs, and building 5 female dorms to provide safe residential facilities to female students in provinces.