Former Director, Women’s Empowerment and Development

Palwasha Kakar left the Foundation in 2014.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Palwasha Kakar led the Gender Mainstreaming and Civil Society Unit in UNDP’s Afghanistan Sub National Governance Program managing a nationwide small grants program with UNDP for Afghanistan’s civil society initiatives, connecting communities to the state and community consultations for local governance policies. Ms. Kakar has also served as Program Manager for The Gender Studies Institute laying the foundation for the establishment of the institute, development and approval of curriculum and resource mobilization. She has experience working with the World Bank Group as a Social Development Specialist dealing with Gender, Social Justice and Environmental issues surrounding their various projects in the region.

Ms. Kakar was previously the Local Governance Research Officer specifically focused on researching women’s participation at the local levels in the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) at the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU). An Afghan-American, she has experience teaching and researching gender and local governance in Afghanistan for over eight years now. Prior to joining AREU, she was involved in research regarding Afghan customary law, Afghan women’s identity, and social spaces in Afghanistan. She has also published papers on female prophets and saints in Islam.

Education: She has a master’s degree focusing on gender, politics and religion with a specific emphasis on Afghanistan and the surrounding region from Harvard University, MA whereas her bachelor’s degree is in Religion and Global Studies focusing on peace and conflict from Bethel College, KS.