U.S. Funding For Women’s Rights In Afghanistan
On Thursday December 18th, 2014, Jamie Tarabay wrote an article in Al Jazeera entitled “No Way To Tell How U.S. Funds Helped Afghan Women.” In the piece, Tarabay explains that “An audit of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the United States on programs designed to benefit Afghan women found the success of the efforts cannot be comprehensively assessed because the U.S. agencies involved could not track their spending and results, according to a report released on Thursday.
This report was by the Office of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), who stated that “the Defense and State Departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) were unable to identify the portions of programs that specifically related to Afghan women.”
Thus, when looking at development issues in Afghanistan, they point out that one cannot assign any successes with U.S. aid, because of the inability to track the finances.
Of course, aid is a very important aspect of international relations and state foreign affairs. Effective aid allows individuals with access to food, health, water, capital, medicines, amongst other things, which will hopefully lead to an improvement of their quality of life. However, when aid is distributed, it is important that it is done so in a way that can not only be monitored, along with being given in a way that is helpful to those who need aid. In this case, if the money is not being tracked, then it will be tough to know just how it is being spent, and if there are any corrupt uses of the resources. And while there is said to be an increase in funding for programs and resources supporting Afghani women, according to SIGAR, ““Although agencies plan to continue or increase funding supporting Afghan women, none of them have a plan to track overall progress and assess the results and outcomes of their efforts beyond 2014″” (Tarabay, 2014).
It is important that governments and non-govermental organization who provide and/or administer aid continue to follow up on these resources. If aid is given, but is not effective, by monitoring this, one can alter future aid. Plus, with oversight, it is hoped that corruption will be reduced, and citizen voices will be better heard.
Hopefully the Tarabay piece will bring light to the importance of overseeing aid and aid programs, since effectively doing so will provide much better support for women in Afghanistan.