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US funds to improve condition of women in Afghanistan
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Friday, 17 January 2003
The U.S. Jan. 8 committed $3.5 million towards Afghanistans "blueprint for action" to improve the condition of women in the war-torn country. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky and a high-level womens delegation arrived in Kabul for a series of meetings with top officials and to co-chair the U.S. Afghan Womens Council (USAWC). The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) would contribute $2.5 million to build women resource centers in 14 provinces, she said. Washington also pledged $1 million in support of educational programs that address issues such as organization management, micro-enterprise, and skills training. In other news, Helmand Province Deputy Governor Haji Hayatollah has complained that the central government has failed to help farmers who have destroyed their opium-poppy crops. He described crop destruction in seven provincial districts, noting that the central government has promised to compensate or otherwise help the farmers, but this has not happened. To stop poppy cultivation, Mr. Hayatollah said, the farmers should receive food assistance, financial compensation, and seeds, and irrigation systems should be repaired. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said at least 27 people, mainly infants and children, have died from an outbreak of whooping cough in Afghanistans remote north.
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