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The United Nations Population Fund Afghanistan Representative, Dr. Laurent Zessler and Ms. Selay Ghaffar, one of Afghanistan's most prominent women's rights activists, presented in Tokyo achievements for Afghan people made possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of Japan.

The Government of Japan contribution to the UNFPA programme in Afghanistan amount to over thirteen millions of USD in the past two years mainly allocated to fill the lack of reliable and current population data which has been one of the significant impediments to development planning in Afghanistan.

"Thanks to the generous financial support of the people of Japan the Central Statistics Organization of Afghanistan (CSO) with the technical support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has implemented the first provincial Socio-Demographic and Economic Survey (SDES), said Dr. Laurent Zessler, UNFPA Afghanistan Representative. "At present, the survey is completed in Bamiyan province and ongoing in Ghor and Daikundi provinces. This activity is a milestone in the history of statistics in Afghanistan as this is the first large scale data collection activity since the 1979 population census", added Dr. Zessler.

To address the vacuum of vital data in Afghanistan, CSO conceptualized the SDES in 2011, with the intent of conducting it province by province with an emphasis on collecting the socio-demographic and economic data at the district level. The survey provides socio-demographic and economic indicators that are important for sustainable development of the province. Population size by sex and age, education, mortality, employment, functional difficulty, source of drinking water, source of energy for cooking, heating, and lighting, materials of roof, walls, and floor, and other housing and household characteristics are essential data for making good decision to respond to both problems and opportunities.

As explained by Ms. Selay Ghaffar - Executive Director for Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA), a Kabul-based NGO which runs women's shelters and legal aid programmes for women in rural areas - the SDES is the first large scale survey collecting disaggregated data to reflect women's life conditions in Afghanistan. It is an important step forward to support women's rights in Afghanistan.

Empowering and uplifting the plight of women necessitate strategic plans which should be designed based on their number, characteristics, and spatial distribution. Knowing which group of women, where they are, who they are, and what their characteristics are important information in a country where prioritization is a must due to limited resources.

The survey is the most accurate instrument that will project the real time picture of the women of Afghanistan.

As SDES generates data at the provincial and district levels, SDES will be able to identify the number and location of women needing priority services in terms of education, reproductive health care, and employment opportunities.

UNFPA Representative Dr. Zessler and Ms. Ghaffar had the opportunity to meet high representative of the Government of Japan, to give lectures to university students, to meet journalist and to bring UNFPA Afghanistan testimony through a photo exhibition during a popular concert organized as part of the Hellosmile campaign.

UNFPA is soliciting funding support to fund the survey for the rest of the 31 provinces with four provinces in 2013, for in 2014, eight in 2015, and fifteen in 2016.

Listen to Dr. Zessler interview on Radio Japan





UNFPA IN THE NEWS - UNFPA Afghanistan goes to Tokyo to express its gratitude to the people and Government of Japan