For decades, the situation in Afghanistan has been marked by armed conflicts and changes in political power. This primarily affects women and girls, who suffer particularly from the resulting insecurity. Cultural resistance to girls' and women's education is still deeply rooted. Under the first Taliban regime (1996-2001), women's education was banned.

The following years brought a great awakening in the education sector. The number of children, adolescents and young adults in schools, colleges and private educational institutions increased more than tenfold from 900,000 in 2001 to over 10 million. The proportion of girls and women in education increased from 5,000 to 3.8 million. The female literacy rate increased from 17% to over 30%.

Projects by DVV International and its long-standing partner organization Afghan National Association for Adult Education (ANAFAE) have contributed to this progress: Together with the NGO ANAFAE, DVV International ensured the establishment of a total of 25 Adult Education Centres in 12 provinces. Some centres have been handed over to local partners. Since 2002, more than two million young adults have participated in complementary school and vocational education, IT and language courses, entrepreneurship training with international certificates of completion, women's education, literacy and catch-up basic education courses from grades four to nine.

After coming to power in August 2021, the Taliban increasingly restricted women's rights. All educational institutions in the country were forced to introduce new rules for strict gender segregation. With the start of the new school year in March 2022, girls were excluded from education in the upper secondary levels (grades 7-12).

After a period of uncertainty, ANAFAE's adult education centres were able to reopen. Currently, courses are being held again at all 15 education centres in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Parwan and Herat. Some of the centres had to be rebuilt to allow separate classes for men and women. In general, there is great uncertainty about the interpretation and review of the bans on women's education and employment. Depending on the decisions of the local authorities, women are currently allowed to attend classroom courses in a few centres.

Main focus of work

With the support of DVV International, ANAFAE is working to continue to provide education to the widest possible range of participants. The training centres offer more than 70 course formats in the areas of foreign languages, computer skills, business start-ups and vocational training. In order to be able to continue to reach women with educational offers, ANAFAE is focusing on the expansion of digital learning, among other things. 

Another challenge is the qualification and licensing of teachers after the migration of many leading progressive professionals abroad.

In addition, the newly created management information system supports the management of the educational programmes in the education centres and thus ensures the maintenance of a substantial offer in the centres.


DVV International's only direct partner since 2005 has been the NGO Afghan National Association for Adult Education (ANAFAE).

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