In addition to targeting women and girls as part of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Natural Resource Management and Small-Scale Enterprise Development programmes, we carry out initiatives, exclusively, targeting women and girls to help increase Afghan women’s sphere of influence and livelihoods in the rural, peri-urban and urban areas of the country.
While the livelihoods interventions under Women’s Empowerment component follow the strategies and approach under Natural Resources Management and Small-Scale Enterprise Development components, the social interventions are implemented under the auspices of Women’s Resource Centres.
Income generation, education and capacity building
Women’s Resource Centres are self-organised collectives creating opportunities for member women to participate in income-generating activities and targeted educational and capacity building programs.
The centres serve as the primary vehicle for the Women’s Empowerment activities, allowing rural women to come together in a safe women-only environment, which is culturally accepted.
The women train, learn, and develop leadership skills, engage in small businesses and income-generating activities, discuss, share insight and knowledge and support each other.
The Women Resource Centres are legally registered with the Ministry of Justice and Law as Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and linked strongly with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The centres therefore operate in a legal fashion and are able to access the support and resources that are available nationally.
Each Women’s Resource Centre provides an opportunity for more than 500 women to come together from five villages and their Community Development Councils. Leadership for the centre is democratically elected.
Since 2004, we have facilitated the establishment of 49 Women’s Resource Centres with 30,000 members.
Given Afghanistan’s highly patriarchic society, it is not always possible to get the communities to agree to the idea of establishing a Women’s Resource Centre. In such instances, our support is not discontinued but rather focused on individual vulnerable women such as women who are heads of households until such time when the community agrees to the idea of a centre.