Improving Livelihoods of Rural Women
In addition to developing communities and ensuring social welfare in villages and cities, the Citizens’ Charter National Priority Program (CCNPP) ensures empathy and unity between people so as to encourage them to actively take part in the construction of their infrastructure projects being implemented through this community-driven development program across Afghanistan. The equal participation of women in Community Development Councils (CDCs) further helps the program achieve its overarching goals. To channel the development activities efficiently, the Citizens’ Charter has facilitated grounds for women to participate in decision making process and express their opinions on the selection of projects that play a crucial role in the empowerment of their communities. Therefore, by including 50 per cent of women in the CDCs leadership, the Citizens’ Charter is determined to give them equal opportunity to participate in the execution of their uplift projects at community level, as a top priority.
Furthermore, the practical execution of the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools including Leaking Pot, Well-being Analysis, Seasonal Calendar, Resource Map, etc. conducted by the Citizens’ Charter in rural communities has had positive impact on men and women’s mindsets in particular. The prime example of certain changes can be observed in the CDCs established by the Citizens’ Charter in Zandajan district of Herat province.
Miss Maryam Shaikh, an innovative lady is one of the CDC members in Zandajan district. She has been able to perform a number of considerable activities with the help of PRA tools in this district. As a Deputy CDC Head, Miss Maryam Shaikh along with male CDC members makes a concerted effort to improve the community economy by creating livelihood opportunities for village women.
She Said: “A large number of women were breeding honeybees in Zandajan district in the past. I thought how to gather them together and develop these activities into a highly profitable business in order to increase their incomes coming from apiary. As such, I held several discussions with these women and finally had a chance to make a big success in this regard. We have been able to establish a complex under the title of Herat Women’s Silk Production Company.”
Miss Maryam Shaikh has worked hard to make this plan a success. “In total, 750 village women are working in this silk production company. By selling the silk produced in our company in the market, we could manage to increase the women’s incomes considerably in Zandajan district,” added Miss Maryam Shaikh.
Indeed, the community engagement and social awareness campaigns conducted through the MRRD/CCNPP increasingly helped people experience positive changes in their living standards. The people have so far made a considerable progress in terms of their participation in sustainable development activities and improvement of livelihoods in both rural and urban communities across the country.