In November 2015, ELEMIS made a donation towards supporting a class of 25 women participating in Women for Women International’s (WfWI’s) year-long social and economic empowerment programme in Afghanistan. The programme offers women a 12-month training programme to equip them with an understanding of their value in family and community life; awareness of their rights; information about nutrition, reproductive health, hygiene and other basic health care; and vital skills by which to earn an income through individual micro businesses or self-help groups. Women also receive a monthly stipend to cover their basic needs and allow them the opportunity to start saving money for the future. The 25 women supported by ELEMIS started their training in February 2016. We are delighted to share with you a report about the recent activities of the group and what they are learning.
Training is delivered in four three-month long modules on:
- Support systems
Training focuses on 10 core strategies that allow women to make tangible and sustainable changes in their lives:
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Effective communication
- Decision making
- Creative thinking
- Interpersonal relationship skills
- Self-awareness building skills
- Coping with stress
Trainers foster debate and the exchange of ideas, listen to and respect the opinions of learners, and encourage the women to be resources for each other.
The class has now completed their first module; Sustaining an Income, which focused on overcoming the stereotypes which prevent Afghan women from earning an income, and provided teaching on saving, credit, and different opportunities for income generation. In addition to this module, women who were identified as innumerate at enrolment were given the opportunity to participate in a series of classes where they were taught numbers, counting, addition, subtraction and how to use money. For one such member of the class (who can now count from 1 to 100, add and subtract), the dream of setting up her own business once she has saved up and completed the second half of the programme is closer. She says,
I am so grateful for the support, for helping me find a way to stand taller and become stronger.
Presently, the women have just completed the final part of their second module Health and Wellness. Through this module, the class gained information to develop a deeper understanding of their bodies and how to protect themselves and their children from illness. They learnt about the prevention, treatment, and management of key health issues, including nutrition, common diseases, sexual and reproductive health, and hygiene. Topics also included family planning and stress-relieving activities to promote healthier, happier and more supportive environments for women.
Over the coming six months, the class will carry out their next two life-skills training modules: Community and Family Decision-Making and Social Networks and Safety Nets. They will also build skills in their selected vocational track and learn about working together in informal group businesses. We hope that they all continue to stand taller and become stronger, and we will keep you updated with their progress.