In September, 50 women graduated from a USAID-funded five-month “Fruit and Vegetables Processing and Basic Hygiene” training course in Paktya Province. USAID’s Local Governance and Community Development project conducted the course and provided culturally appropriate and highly valued vocational skills to the 50 women participants.
The curriculum included kitchen hygiene and food safety, purchasing safe food, cleaning chemicals, and food storage, as well as fruit and vegetable processing sessions. In addition to benefiting from the basic kitchen hygiene and food safety skills, the trainees are now able to play an active role in generating income for their families. As part of the training, the participants received toolkits that will help them sell their homemade fruit and vegetable products, such as jams and pickles, at local markets.
This project also helped strengthen linkages between provincial government officials and local communities, as the directorates of Women Affairs (DoWA), Economy, Labor and Social Affairs all played an active role by selecting trainees, monitoring the classes, and presenting graduation certificates to participants at the closing ceremony. DoWA involvement in this initiative also helped promote the role of women in the development of their communities. Ms. Halema Hazan, Paktya Director of Women Affairs, commented, “This and all other trainings for women are highly appreciated in the local communities and [the Afghan Government], and bring positive behavior changes in local communities.”