Giving Afghan Women a Chance to Grow

Planting Hope: Empowering Afghan Women through Cash-for-Work Programmes

March 1, 2023

Empowering Afghan Women through Plant Seedling Training in the Eastern Region

UNDP's ABADEI project has been engaging women in temporary income-generation schemes.  In Kunar province, 110 women have been given short-term jobs for one to two months, with UNDP's partner, the Danish Refugee Council, implementing the project on the ground.

UNDP consulted directly with community leaders and members on selecting the beneficiaries and the short-term employment needs in the community. A few older women were also employed to care for nursing children whose mothers were working.

The women undertook extensive training in planting and managing seedlings and saplings in the nurseries. This Cash for Work (CfW) activity not only supports women in learning a new skill to help them increase their income, but it also helps fill the worker gap in public nurseries and helps to increase sapling production. Additionally, this initiative contributes to the reforestation and plantation on the banks of water sources (canals) and planting trees increases water retention in the soil and avoids soil erosion.

Shamisa (name changed), a widow and mother of 5 children who live in the eastern region of the country, said after participating in the CfW programme:

"I had no source of income, and no one helped me because of the current employment crisis across the country. No one could even lend me money to buy basic and necessary food items. But now I can work, and I am proud that I am not begging anymore. I have been able to treat two of my children who were sick because of my hard work. I am happy with my life and thankful for the opportunity to learn this skill. I am so happy that they were able to help a poor and needy woman like me."

Noria (name changed), a 20-year-old woman beneficiary, said after the intervention:

"My father is a drug addict, and I was forced to be the sole provider for my six family members. We had no food at home and always looked to neighbours to help feed us. We live in a rented house and have been in debt for a long time because we had no money and could not find work. I was very excited when I heard there was an opportunity to work in a nursery. I knew it was good for my family and me. After I started working, I received 20,800 AFN [around US$200]. I am so grateful for this support. It has significantly improved our lives and helped us pay our rent and household expenses."

In 2022, in Phase One of UNDP's ABADEI project, the project created temporary work for over 191,000 people across Afghanistan through its cash-for-work projects, building infrastructure for local communities or, in this case, working at public nurseries. These cash-for-work programmes comprised 2,265K labour days and disbursed US$12.5 million in wages. Phase 2 of the ABADEI project has already launched.