Kazakhstan: Afghan women complete first year of education within EU-UNDP project


NUR-SULTAN — A new group of Afghan women, participants of EU-UNDP project, earlier this month graduated from foundation year at Almaty Management University (AlmaU) and received Certificates of completion of intensive English language courses. The women are now ready to continue their degree-specific education at three host universities in Almaty, the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan reported.

The new group of students were expected to arrive in Kazakhstan in autumn 2021, however due to the situation in Afghanistan their trip was postponed. Programme participants started their education online and were shifted to offline education upon arrival in April 2022.

Overall, within two phases of the project 90 women from Afghanistan received language training at AlmaU. The academic scholarship is designed to give Afghan women and girls the opportunity to receive education and acquire professional skills. By improving Afghan women’s access to the quality higher education, the initiative aims to build resilience and promote the Sustainable Development Goals in Afghanistan and in a broader region of Central Asia.

The scholarship includes BA, MA and TVET education. All students undergo foundation language preparation year that aims to increase students’ academic English level and prepares them for degree-specific education at other universities. Along with intensive English courses, students also learn Russian and Kazakh to be able to handle their everyday needs. AlmaU organized several trips, including a trip to Nur-Sultan, as cultural adaptation programme to let the students learn more about the country they will live in until graduation.

Initially, the pilot project was launched in 2019. It provided opportunities for 50 Afghan women to receive education in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In 2021 the European Union provided additional funding for extension of the academic programme. 105 women from Afghanistan were awarded the scholarship after rigorous selection process. Within new phase, women will study Agriculture in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Marketing and Architecture in Kazakhstan, and Computer Science in Kyrgyzstan.