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Making an income by baking

Meet Shukria, Shorah and other women in a new short DACAAR video showing how learning to bake cakes and cookies and setting up businesses can help families.

DACAAR has carried out one of DANIDA’s ‘Regions of Origin Initiative’ (ROI) projects in Shakar Dara, a peri-urban part of Kabul province.

The project was able to empower 20 women by providing them the opportunity to learn how to make cookies and cakes for sale away from home.

At the end of the project, the profit made by baking will be used to help the graduates to set up their own businesses and thus generate income for themselves and their families.

The project participants were trained by a female cake and cookie baking teacher, Mari, who had previous experience in teaching baking in Dar-ul-Aman area of Kabul city.

Mari was chosen through a very transparent selection process.

Family permission - a challenge for students

The beneficiaries’ selection criteria were decided upon in close cooperation with the local community.

At the beginning of the project, DACAAR's representative discussed how to go about the selection process with the local community leaders. The outcome was, that beneficiaries should be women who already went to school, but were restricted by their families from continuing their education and from working outside their home.

DACAAR's field worker, Shukria Ludin, explains how they encountered problems at a meeting where they discussed goals and benefits of the programme;

“We asked the women elders to introduce us to village girls as potential students, but it did not work out, because the families would not allow the girls to attend,” she says.

During the second meeting only some of the girls had got the permission from their families.

“We therefore went to the homes of the girls without family permission and discussed the issue with their elders. We described the goals and benefits of the program to them. They agreed and we succeeded in recruiting our students this way,” Shukria Ludin explains.

We learned a lot

Shorah, one of the course participants, was introduced to the cookie and cake baking course by one of the teachers who said that the participants should come and ‘learn something that will bring some changes in their life’.

Shorah discussed the idea with her family and they agreed to let her participate.

“It’s a very good training course. We are happy with it, because we have learned a lot and our teacher is a very good woman. She is very kind to us,” Shorah says.

For her it is important too that the training takes place in the neighbourhood.

“We don't have any problem getting there. It is safe, because our home is located nearby," she says.

Local customers

After finishing the course, the participants should start businesses and sell their cakes and cookies.

The main markets for their baked goods area nearby Bazaar, a local store and the local residents of the community.

However, the women have a problem: Selling cookies and cakes is seasonal -not something that can be done all year round. Around the Eid holidays, however, it is very good business.

The women thus stated that making money every day is a big challenge for them.

Short video presents the project

DACAAR has produced a4 minutes video about the programme.

Communication intern, Zohal Nasrat explains: “The Woman Empowerment team organised a meeting with the women as it was important to get the permission to take pictures and videos.”

Zohal and other members of staff from the DACAAR communication team went twice to record.

“On the first day, we recorded the women baking cakes and cookies and got students quotes. On the second day, we managed to get field staff and teacher quotes.”

Ms. Malalai, DACAAR’s Women Empowerment Manager, is one of the womenin the video.

“The production of those kind of videos will encourage women to see that they are capable and there are opportunities out there to be grabbed,” Ms Malalai says and continues:

"This video shows women that they are capable of doing big things with small amounts of money. At the beginning, we will take their hands and guide them with small amounts of money. Afterwards, they will be able to stand on their own two feet without our help. In this way, women will get hope for their future."

You can see the see the video here.

Facts about DANIDA’s ‘Regions of Origin Initiative’

DACAAR has implemented project activities funded by DANIDA through the ROI programme since 2010.

By the end of December 2016, more than 320,000 returnees, internally displaced people (IDPs), and vulnerable host communities have benefitted from DACAAR's interventions in Kabul, Nangarhar, Kunar and Balkh provinces.

51.7% of these were women and girls.

Facts about Women Empowerment

In addition to targeting women and girls as part of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Natural Resource Management and Small-Scale Enterprise Development programmes, DACAAR carries out initiatives exclusively targeting women and girls to help increase Afghan women’s sphere of influence and livelihoods in the rural, peri-urban and urban areas of the country.

Women Empowerment projects in DACAAR include activities such as home base poultry, food processing, Farmer Field Schools, kitchen gardening, saffron cultivation, vocational training and literacy programmes.