CARE International works toward hope, tolerance, and social justice, focused on overcoming poverty and enabling people to live in dignity and security. CARE’s Humanitarian Assistance for Widows of Afghanistan (HAWA) program is a manifestation of this vision, serving vulnerable women in Afghanistan by providing sustainable livelihood opportunities.
Beyond the 11th funds projects that directly address CARE’s long-term strategy of helping Afghan women develop sustainable livelihoods through skills training, employment opportunities, and the establishment of links with local markets. The strategy is also fundamental to CARE’s broader mission to end poverty by increasing economic opportunities for these women and by enabling them to exercise their basic rights and live in dignity.
Provided 400 widows and their children (an estimated 2,800 people in total) with the support needed to start and expand small poultry-rearing businesses through the provision of chicks, feed and technical support.
Continued strengthening the poultry-rearing businesses of the initial group of widows through the provision of additional chicks and veterinary training, establishment of a poultry training center with incubators that can be used by participants, and formation of a poultry farmers’ cooperative where women can earn higher prices for the collective sale of their eggs and chickens.
Helped 40 widows in five districts of Kabul to start cattle-rearing businesses. Raising cattle is an ideal income-generating activity for vulnerable women, as the feed and other inputs are available at a low cost and milk products fetch competitive prices at the market. CARE provided milk cows, training and veterinary services. In addition to earning a regular income from the sale of milk, cheese and yogurt, the women also were able to provide more nutritious meals to their children.
Supported an additional 32 widows to launch cattle production businesses. Project activities included distributing milk cows and training participants in cattle feeding, housing and healthcare, the birthing process, artificial insemination and marketing of milk and milk products.
This two-year project helped increase the income of 1,311 women who had previously participated in HAWA’s livestock activities by providing veterinary services, helping them form community-based savings groups (CBSGs) and offering refresher training in livestock and poultry production. Through the CBSGs, women make regular savings contributions and in return have access to loans in proportion to their savings. Women typically used the funds to buy more cows, purchase milk processing equipment or pay for emergency medical care for their livestock. The project also selected 10 new participants to receive dairy cows, veterinary services, market linkages, training and improved cattle breeding services.
The second year of funding for the two-year project described above.
This three-year project aims to help 200 women increase their savings and access to loan capital through the establishment of 10 new CBSGs. It also trains CBSG members in business planning, group management, market linkages and important life skills, including training in literacy/numeracy and environmental and basic hygiene training. In its first year, the project helped form the 10 planned CBSGs and established literacy/numeracy classes for 60 CBSG members.
In its second year, the project continued providing guidance and support to the 10 CBSGs. By the end of year, members had collectively saved $10,935 and 192 women had received loans valued at $18,586, which they used to start small businesses for themselves or family members, support livestock rearing activities, construct or repair their homes, plant home gardens that yield nutritious produce, and cover emergency costs, such as medical bills. In addition, an additional 60 women participated in the literacy/numeracy class, and CARE led a three-day training session on the improved hygienic production of dairy products for CBSG members.
In the final year of the three-year project, CARE is helping ensure the CBSGs have the necessary capacity and skills to become independent in 2016 as planned. To this end, we will hold business development and management training for all 200 CBSG members, and we are starting a new literacy/numeracy class for the 80 women who did not take part in the earlier lessons. Judging by the outcomes so far, CARE expects the new trainees to acquire the ability to write their names, read basic text, perform simple calculations, and keep records — as well as to gain confidence in expressing themselves. We are also holding awareness sessions with men to gain their support for women’s economic rights, which is essential for helping women gain access to established markets.