Women’s agricultural and vocational skills in Afghanistan
Bishops’ Appeal allocated funding to Christian Aid for women’s rights, life skills (agricultural, vocational and business skills) and veterinary skills in four villages in Afghanistan.
As a result of two decades of war, Afghanistan’s economic and social infrastructure has collapsed, and the fiscal base has become increasingly fragile. Many families keep livestock and grow produce to sell as their livelihoods and have suffered greatly over the last two decades, leaving them vulnerable and facing increasing levels of poverty.
Women are an integral part of communities in Karukh as they generate income through not only agricultural production, but carpet weaving, tailoring and embroidery.
Karukh is located 50km North East of Herat
This project aims to contribute to the sustainable livelihoods of vulnerable families in Karukh District through improving income generation and market opportunities.
Karukh is one of the districts within the Herat Province and is home to 184 villages. Most inhabitants in these villages generate income through various agricultural activities, whist others work as daily labourers or are involved in animal husbandry, horticulture and the creation of handicrafts.
This project has been developed to work within the following four villages: Qala Sharbat, Qala Bala, Lakzai ha and Traina Madas. These villages have been selected as many women living there have a low social status and rarely get an opportunity to improve their income generation.
In Karukh District, the most common agricultural produce are tomatoes, but often they are sold on very cheaply before they spoil in the hot weather. Occasionally, producers have been drying tomatoes, but this does not always work. Recently Christian Aid established a small scale food processing group in Qala Sharbat, which provided basic support for female farmers in an attempted to enhance the value chain of tomatoes and reduce the number of forced sales.
This producers’ group have a good structure, but are in need of both technical and material support in order to be sustainable and stand on their own and continue their operations without further external support.
Christian Aid’s partner organisation CRDSA (Coordination of Rehabilitation and Development Services for Afghanistan) has been a partner of Christian Aid’s since 2009.
- To improve the technical and financial sustainability of two established producers’ groups of Qala Sharbat and Qala Bala village (benefitting 50 women).
- To increase income generation opportunities of 40 women from 2 target villages of Karukh district through the provision of carpet weaving and livestock training and inputs.
- To decrease the mortality and morbidity of goats and sheep through the provision of basic veterinary services to 1,000 animals across two villages.
- To improve women’s rights and life skills awareness (targeting 90 women) through conducting rights awareness and mobilisation sessions using the REFLECT method in four target villages.
20 Livestock keepers will be selected with the help of the local community Shuras in the Tarina Madas village. They will received 2 local breed goats, a kit for milking and the relevant training (Local breeds of goat are supplied as they are resistant to the cold weather of the targeted area and will produce one kid per year).
Two vaccination campaigns will take place to decrease the mortality and morbidity of the goats and sheep. In total 1,000 animals will be vaccinated.
One person in each of the four villages will receive training in the provision of Basic Veterinary Services – based on a specific training curriculum which was developed by a Veterinary Doctor and CRDSA programme staff. These trained individuals will then charge a small amount for the services they provide.
- Vocational training
20 women will be given vocational training to produce new embroidery products (Khamak) and carpet weaving as per market demands. Local trainers will be hired and supported in providing this training.
- Market Support
CRDSA will conduct a wide-ranging and detailed survey in each of the yields and product markets (livestock, agriculture and carpets). This survey will also serve as a baseline to collect information and will provide information on:
- Current production levels and sources
- Level of demand and provision
- Quality and types of packaging
- Marketability of products
- District and provincial level products, marketing opportunities and prices.
- Identifying threats
Based on this survey the market officer will also link the various project beneficiaries with the relevant suppliers and purchasers, with the aim of establishing long-term contracts.
- Producers Groups/ Marketing Associations
The establishment and training of two producers groups (one for livestock and one for carpet weavers) will ensure that farmers and project beneficiaries/communities are mobilised for optimum participation as well as marketing and sustainability aspects of the project.
These groups will be addressing any upcoming problems of the relevant trade members as well as managing the market linkages for improved selling. Another benefit of this activity is that the groups will be available to help trainees in terms of the collective purchasing of raw material from the villagers or further afield, and selling products on to local and regional traders as appropriate, and most importantly linking the members to the traders and markets within and beyond the project implementation period.
- Rights awareness for women
This will be facilitated for the 90 women benefiting from each of the project components through the REFLECT system. CRDSA will develop a specific timetable which will present the time allocated for each of the mentioned topics to assure that all awareness messages will be well received.
The REFLECT approach mobilises both men and women in the community and will be especially important when looking at cross-cutting themes of basic literacy, basic accounting, hygiene and the rights of women.
This project has been developed to directly benefit 90 women and their families. These women are from the following four villages in the Karukh District: Qala Sharbat, Qala Bala, Lackzai ha and Tarina Madas.