Getting out of a Pickle – Business Training Helps Women Succeed in the Market

Women produce pickles in Kuz Kunar district of Nangarhar as part of a 10-day training. Photo: UNDP / GEP II / 2015

08 February 2016, Nangarhar — Small businesses in Afghanistan often find it difficult to find customers and lack the management and marketing skills needed to compete with foreign imports.


This was the case with the 20 women of Nangarhar’s Kuz Kunar Pickle Production Association. They worked hard and made high-quality pickles, but they just couldn’t sell them.


“We did not know how to label our products to get people’s attention. Sometimes we produced a lot, but no one bought them and they went bad,” said the association’s head, Robina.


UNDP and the Department of Women’s Affairs in Nangarhar provided a 10-day business course to the Association to boost their knowledge of finance, marketing and management.

Highlights

  • It was difficult for Nangarhar’s Kuz Kunar Pickle Production Association to find customers due to lack of marketing skills.
  • UNDP training not only helped the association improve their product labels to find customers in the market but also created job opportunities for 20 women.
  • UNDP’s Gender Equality Project has supported 915 women in cooperatives, associations and networks in four provinces with an average income increase of 12.7% to 20%.

 

PanjshirProducts of Nangarhar’s Kuz Kunar Pickle Production Association. Photo: UNDP / GEP II / 2015

“Prior to this training,” said Robina, “we didn’t keep proper accounts and wrote all our expenses and income in one simple notebook. The training helped us improve our product labels to find customers in the market.”


In November 2015, Robina and her colleagues also took part in a UNDP-supported exhibition and workshop in Nangarhar with 11 other women’s associations. Here they shared their ideas with other female entrepreneurs and learned more about finding new markets.

 Women produce pickles in Kuz Kunar district of Nangarhar as part of a 10-day training. Photo: UNDP / GEP II / 2015

Since then, the association has continued to prosper and now employs 20 women who have learned new skills through on-the-job training.


Fariba, a female worker whose father’s passed away seven years ago, is one of them. “After my father’s death, my mother and I took care of the family. I earn an average of 73 USD per month making pickles at the association and that takes care of our basic needs.”


Fellow worker, Spogmay, is just as happy, “Previously, I was unemployed, even though I had studied for 14 years and graduated from a teacher training center. But now I am happy because I can make money while learning how to make pickles. The job assists me to support myself and my family.”
 

This training was part of UNDP’s Gender Equality Project II (GEP-II). One aspect of the project is to foster women entrepreneurs by proving them with access to economic resources and business training.

The project is funded by Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Afghanistan and UNDP. It has supported 915 women in cooperatives, associations and networks in four provinces of Afghanistan with an average income increase of 12.7% to 20 %.

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