Pilawary Farm: Helping Women Grow Out of Poverty
31 December 2017, Kabul – Gul Pari, a 37-year old mother of five, arrived in Kabul eight years ago. Her circumstances were difficult. Her husband, a drug addict, could not work, and all the family’s savings had been spent on his treatment.
To make ends meet, and ensure her children were fed, Gul Pari started doing housework for her neighbours. She would arrive early at people’s houses, and leave late at night, earning around 150 Afghanis ($2) a day.
“I had to stand the whole day, washing and cleaning. I would eat lunch quickly, so that my employers did not think that I was lazy,” says Gul Pari. “When I had finished work, I would take leftovers home to feed my children.”
Then one day, she was introduced to the manager of Pilawary Farm in Kabul. It proved to be a life-changing encounter for her.
Pilawary Farm in Kabul was established jointly by UNDP and the World Food Programme in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock. The project provides 16 hectares of land where 100 women can grow crops like potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and spinach. Wells have been dug to ensure proper crop irrigation, and the women also get training in organic farming methods, pre- and post-harvest management, food processing, packaging and marketing. In addition, the World Food Programme provides these women with a monthly ration of flour, pulses and oil.
- When Gul Pari arrived in Kabul and she could barely make ends meet by doing backbreaking housework.
- Along with around 100 other women, Gul Pari started work on Pilawary Farm in Kabul.
- The women receive training on farming, pre- and post-harvest management, food processing, packaging and marketing.
- Working in Pilawary Farm means Gul Pari can now feed her children and lead a better life.
Gul Pari was given a place on the farm, and started cultivating the land. Soon she was able to meet her household expenses.
“I am getting 4000-5000 afghanis per month ($60-$70),” says Gul. “I take vegetables home every day, as well as jams and pickles. This means my children don’t go hungry.”
Pilawary Farm is funded by UNDP’s Small Grants Programme, and by UNDP’s EGEMA Project (Enhancing Gender Equality and Mainstreaming in Afghanistan) which is supported by the Republic of Korea.
The EGEMA project has so far created jobs for 220 Afghan women in Kabul and Herat provinces, and a further 260 jobs are planned in Daikundi, Herat, Balkh and Nangarhar provinces. EGEMA works to improve data and to mainstream gender in national policies, to empower women economically, and change behavior by working with mullahs and youth.