U.S. Embassy Statement on the Women’s Dormitory of Herat University (February 2, 2015)

February 2, 2015

On Monday, February 2, the Embassy of the United States of America in Kabul, the Ministry of Higher Education of Afghanistan and Herat University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the new women’s dormitory at Herat University. Financed by the United States Forces Afghanistan and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at $5.27 million, the dormitory is a modern facility that will house more than 370 female students in a safe environment while they pursue higher education.  Furnishings and computer labs will be provided by the U.S. Embassy.  The MOU outlines roles and responsibilities of the U.S. Embassy, the Ministry of Higher Education and Herat University regarding the equipping and operations of the newly-built dormitory.  This project highlights collaborative efforts by the Ministry of Higher Education, Herat University, and the U.S. Government to promote quality higher education for women in Afghanistan.

At the signing ceremony, U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Ms. Olsin-Windecker said, “We are committed to supporting the Government of Afghanistan’s goal of increasing the number of female students in higher education and proud to work side by side the Ministry of Higher Education on this high priority project.  We know that families are more willing to send their daughters to university if there is safe and secure housing available.  The United States Army Corps of Engineers worked hard to make this a reality at Herat University.”

Acting Minister of Higher Education Professor Babury thanked the U.S. Government for its unwavering support to the advancement of education in Afghanistan. “Today, we witnessed another milestone in enhancing women’s education in Afghanistan. This symbolizes the close collaboration between the United States and Afghanistan toward a common goal of promoting gender equality in education.”

The U.S. Embassy is funding the procurement and installation of furnishings for the women’s dormitory and computer labs.  The Embassy is also paying for the maintenance and operations of the dormitory for two years and for English language and computer skills classes for students living in the dormitory. Once fully-equipped, the facility will include dorm rooms, a dining facility, a library, a computer lab, basketball and volleyball courts, a water supply well and tank, a controlled entry point, and a perimeter security wall.  Due to the number of electrical outages in the region, voltage stabilizers and surge protectors will be added to the facility.  After Herat University accepts the facility, the structure and its elements will be covered by a 2-year warranty provided by the contractor.