Afghanaid has launched a series of courses to teach basic literacy and numeracy to 3,400 vulnerable women in Ghor and Samangan provinces, a vital first step on the road to independence.

This is part of a major project, funded by UK Aid Direct, The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and The Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development, which aims to enable women in Afghanistan to assert control over their own lives, improve the well-being of their families, and drive the development of their communities forward.

Following the launch of these courses, we visited some of the students to see how they were getting on, and had a chat with their teacher, Oquila:

“I took part in one of Afghanaid’s teacher training courses and now I am teaching 17 local women to read and write – I really enjoy being a teacher and sharing my knowledge with other women and the lessons are going well so far!

Education is so important. An educated woman can pass on her knowledge to her children, and help them with their homework, or read labels on food or medicine bottles.

Having an education will also help us to set up our own businesses and understanding mathematics will help us to sell our products in the market for a good price.

Being educated changes so many aspects of our lives - it changes everything!”

Putting their new skills into practice

Alongside these literacy and numeracy courses, Afghanaid is provide 10,500 women with training in:

  • a vocational skill of their choice
  • enterprise development
  • financial management training.

With their new skills and knowledge, they will be able to set up their own businesses, earn and control their own income and lift their families out of poverty. We have also organised these women into savings groups, so that they can support one another and take it in turns to take out a loan from the group to get their businesses off the ground.

 

As income earners, these women will be afforded greater respect both in their homes and within their communities.

What’s more, we know that when given the opportunity, women will typically invest in the education of girls and boys equally and are more likely to spend money on their families health, hygiene and nutrition as compared to men; so their entire families benefit.

Paving the way for the next generation

Afghanaid will then teach these women and their husbands about women’s rights, family planning and reproductive health. Once they have a greater knowledge and understanding of these topics, these empowered women will be able to harness their new social standing to influence decisions over family planning and the early marriage of their daughters.

So, not only will they be positive role models for their daughters, they will truly be paving the way for the next generation of women, and for generations to come!

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