Durham University

Scholarships for Afghan Women

Durham University wishes to contribute to the civil society solution in Afghanistan by donating funds to a postgraduate scholarship scheme for young Afghan women. The aim over the next five years is to bring at least 25 young women from Kabul University to read for a postgraduate degree of their choosing at Durham University, and then return to Afghanistan to engage in their country’s reconstruction as highly competent and empowered leaders.

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It ran from 9:45 PM, 1 September 2014 to 9:45 PM, 1 September 2014




  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy
  • Poverty Alleviation/ReliefPoverty Alleviation/Relief


  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls



At Afghanistan: The London Conference on January 28, 2010, a Women’s Action Plan was unveiled where educating women was given primacy. In a country where, under Taliban rule, educating girls and young women was deemed a crime – which led to a female literacy rate in 2000 of just 12.6% - this is significant. The plan emphasises that women’s issues should not be confined to government-to-government ties but must benefit from collaboration between the private sector, non-governmental organisations – also understood to mean educational institutions – and individuals. Durham University is convinced that any military solution in Afghanistan will be but temporary and that long-term stability and prosperity can only come about as the result of an institutionalised civil society. There can be no civil society that marginalises women. The Chancellor of Kabul University, Professor Hamidullah Amin, is himself a Durham University alumnus and he will partner with Durham in selecting the scholarship recipients. Three conditions will apply: these young women must meet Durham University’s high standards for entry; they must be committed to returning to Afghanistan; and they must be willing whilst in the UK to engage in extra-curricular training to equip them with the skills they will need positively to influence the formation of civil society in Afghanistan. This last condition of entry is of critical importance. Each annual cohort will be given the opportunity to participate in short courses in the following areas: leadership, entrepreneurship, political advocacy, rule of law and human rights, reproductive health, nutrition, and democratic institutions. Such extra-curricular training opportunities will be provided by Durham University or capacity-building organisations selected by the UK Department for International Development. The cost of each of the 25 postgraduate awards is £25,000. The total amount required for this scholarship scheme is £625,000. To date, approximately £450,000 has been raised through Durham University’s appeal to alumni which was launched in late November 2009. The response has been overwhelming, with thousands of small gifts offered (the average gift is £77) as well as two major gifts (£60,000 and £80,000). There remains to be raised, therefore, approximately £175,000 to enable Durham University to offer its full complement of 25 scholarships over five years. “One of the most important things that a developing state like Afghanistan needs is not just educated women who can make a direct contribution to Afghan life, but educated mothers. Who is best placed in a family to encourage children to study properly? It is, of course, mothers and they need to be well educated themselves. Achieving that would be a real investment in the future, so I support this initiative from the bottom of my heart.” LADY PHILIPPA DANNATT (Appeal Patron) For further information and to make a donation, please visit the project website at http://www.dunelm.org.uk/chancellorsappeal2009