AFGHANISTAN:

Women’s Initiatives in Insecure Areas

November 9, 2011

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Members of the Women’s Organization, Shagai Village, Paktiya Province.

CHALLENGE: Zazi Aryub is a remote district of Paktiya Province. Development efforts have been minimal due to lack of security. The only time women gather in a group is during weddings and funerals. Even the idea of women’s social and economic activities is alien in Shagai village, yet poverty cuts to the bone.

INITIATIVE: Ms. Mahira Ahmady, an activist, was present at an ASGP introductory meeting in Gardez city. She encouraged the Women’s Organization of Shagai to contact the ASGP representative in Paktiya. Mr. Gul Agha Batoori, who manages the Organization, consulted the women’s council and spoke to village elders. They acknowledged that women in this village are illiterate and poor and deserve support. After consulting with women in the community, the Organization decided to launch a literacy and tailoring project for 30 women. The ASGP Capacity Development Facilitator in Paktiya helped the Organization prepare a grant application for sewing machines, cloth, furniture, trainers’ fees and other necessary items. The Creative-implemented ASGP selection committee recommended the grant application to USAID for approval.

RESULTS: The grant approval enabled the Association to launch tailoring training for 30 women. Children often acompany their mothers to the training facility. Mr Batoori teaches the children basic literacy and numercy while their mothers participate in the tailoring training in the other room. Tailoring skills will help participants’ families save money for other priorities – such as health care and education – by sewing clothes for their families instead of paying tailors to do the job. In addition, participants also have decided to establish a women-run tailor’s shop where they can work for a few hours each day and receive orders to make dresses for other women in the village. Contributing to their families’ welfare in all of these ways is likely to increase women’s confidence and credibility within their families and communities.

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