Afghanistan University Support and Workforce Development Program (2014-2019)


The Center for International Education is continuing its work with the higher education system in Afghanistan as the lead technical partner for FHI 360 on a USAID’s third largest higher education project in the world - University Support and Workforce Development program (USWDP), a $92 million five-year project (2014-2019).  The project builds on the successes of the Afghanistan Higher Education Project (HEP) previously administered by the Academy for Educational Development and Afghanistan Higher Education Project (HEP 2) managed by CIE 2006-2014. CIE has a $23 million sub-contract with USWDP as the lead technical partner.



USWDP is committed to improving academic quality through the establishment of new graduate programs, new bachelor degree programs and the development of associate degrees. These programs will be driven by the labor market, providing education that will increase students’ employability and their ability to make a positive impact in the economy of Afghanistan.


In addition to supporting academic programs directly, the project is focusing on improving the management capacity of Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) professionals and 11 public universities in an effort to maximize the quality of education and future employment for a larger number of Afghan men and women. The project assists in developing learning environments that foster well-qualified and professional faculty members, highly capable and motivated students, diverse and market-oriented academic programs, sustainable public-private collaboration, international university partnerships, and other innovations that move Afghanistan toward the higher education system it deserves. It specifically contributes in helping Afghanistan higher education move forward with decentralization—university autonomy, financial management, quality assurance and accreditation.  Key to the project is the empowerment and facilitation of Afghan stakeholders’ ownership of activities to ensure sustainability.


Recent Project Activities include:


  • Provided technical and financial assistance to MoHE research committee curriculum committee, and quality assurance committee
  • Assisted with the new National Higher Education Strategic Plan 2016-2020
  • Provided facilities for MoHE publishing and Kankor (national exam) departments
  • Conducted a range of administrative, finance and academic workshops at MoHE and the 11 partner universities
  • Worked with MoHE to develop the Higher Education Gender Strategy and Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy
  • Assisted with the launch of eight new master’s programs at six partner universities
  • Worked with stakeholders to improve the 17 existing and new market and skills-oriented bachelor degree programs in different universities
  • Established five associate degree programs, a totally new concept for Afghanistan
  • Initiated 27 regional and international university partnership programs


The recent improvements in academics, finance and administration have impressed the MoHE leadership as the Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Farida Momand, has acknowledged and appreciated the donor’s support for Higher Education in very recent remarks.


The project is managed at UMass by a team of faculty, staff and graduate students.  The current team is made up of David R. Evans and Joe Berger as Principal Investigators, staff members Shane Hammond (lecturer), Barbara Gravin Wilbur and Sybil Jayne, and graduate students Lukas Winfield, Homayoon Taheryar, and Javid Mussawy.  The home office team supports the much larger team of USWDP staff who are working in Afghanistan.




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