Finding ways to move people out of poverty is challenging in the best of circumstances. It is made even more difficult in areas where civil war, local instability, domestic violence, and other kinds of conflict disproportionately impact women and children. In many conflict areas, women find themselves displaced and living in unfamiliar places— corralled into camps where they often become disadvantaged heads of households because their husbands have died, become disabled, or abandoned them. In other circumstances, husbands may not be able to fully support the family.
Women’s economic participation and their ownership and control of productive assets speeds up development, helps overcome poverty, reduces inequalities and improves children’s nutrition, health, and school attendance. Women typically invest a higher proportion of their earnings in their families and communities than men. (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)
…greater control over household resources by women, either through their own earnings or cash transfers, can enhance countries’ growth prospects by changing spending in ways that benefit children. (World Bank, 2012)
A key element in eliminating poverty is to find ways to put sustainable resources into the hands of women.
Over the past several decades, aid and development practices have become more focused on accountability, effectiveness, and sustainability; this is leading to better long-term results.
Since the early 1990s, daily life in poor countries has been changing profoundly for the better: one billion people have escaped extreme poverty, average incomes have doubled, infant death rates have plummeted, millions more girls have enrolled in school, chronic hunger has been cut almost in half, deaths from malaria and other diseases have declined dramatically, democracy has spread far and wide, and the incidence of war — even with Syria and other conflicts — has fallen by half. (Stephen Radelet)
These are astounding results that should encourage investment in projects that put sustainable resources in the hands of women. Four years ago Karadah Project worked closely with our local Afghan partner, Shindand Women Social Foundation (SWSF), to give goats to women in villages in rural Shindand district. The women are managing their growing herds well — eating some for better nutrition, selling some for family income, and milking the others for both a healthier diet and income for life’s necessities. The lives of these women and their families have been improved significantly through a resource that reproduces itself.
Earlier this year, Karadah Project purchased hens for women in Shindand District and a displaced persons camp in Herat, Afghanistan. Through SWSF we purchased 200 hens that are now providing meat and eggs that improve the health and income of families. Our partner, Women Education for Better Tomorrow Organization (WEBTO), is a local Afghan women-founded nonprofit that is helping women in the five displaced persons camps in and around Herat, Afghanistan. WEBTO helped us distribute 200 hens among some of the displaced women they are working with. As with our successful goat projects, we anticipate our hens will continue to provide a reliable source of better nutrition and increased family income, managed with care and skill by women.
Our partnership with WEBTO is also impacting the lives of hundreds of the displaced women through vocational skills training. After assessments and interviews that determine interests, aptitudes, etc., women participants are provided 6 months of specific skills training in areas such as carpet weaving, sewing, embroidery, cosmetology, and setting up a business. The hardworking women of WEBTO actively negotiate contracts with local businesses that allow the participants to earn as they learn. WEBTO and Karadah Project have also partnered with the UN World Food Program to provide food rations for the women and their families while they are learning. During the past year we have trained 350 women. Our current class holds an additional 100 participants.
Imagine the power unleashed by 450 women with skills and access to markets. Think of the generational impact of mothers passing skills to their daughters.
We are on a mission to eliminate poverty. You can join us.
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LTC (ret) Rick Burns founded Karadah Project to support peace, stability, and humanitarian efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan after Army deployments to those countries. We are helping displaced and disadvantaged women move themselves and their families out of poverty.
Karadah Project International
The Karadah Project International is an Iowa 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation committed to building sustainable and long-term solutions in partnership with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.