Productive and Fruitful HandsOct 22, 2017
People from Yangi Qala, Dasht Qala of Takhar and Imam Sahib district of Kunduz introduce their local products in an exhibition
A three-day exhibition to introduce local products, under the name of ‘Our Village Our Pride’ (OVOP), was organized by the Livelihood Improvement in Tajik – Afghan Cross Border Areas (LITACA) project, a UNDP project in cooperation with the ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD).
The exhibition was inaugurated in Takhar’s Taloqan, and had over 200 visitors, including high-level government officials. It featured local products such as fresh and dried fruits, jams, pickles, types of sweets, as well as handicrafts, such as accessories, rugs, and handwoven gilimi products.
Mrs. Laura Rio, Head of Livelihoods & Resilience in UNDP Afghanistan, said, “women’s potential to contribute to economic life in Afghanistan is often neglected and their human capital undervalued.”
LITACA established the OVOP Sales Center in Taloqan to support local producers, particularly women, and open doors of opportunity for economic growth and development rural communities in Takhar province.
The OVOP Sales Center was born out of the recognition that women’s trade across the Afghan-Tajik border can make a difference in the life of a people, if there is a conducive and safe environment for women to do business.
“The sales center gives women an opportunity to come together in groups, to learn new skills, to partner with producers and sellers, and sell their products in a safe and regulated environment,” said Laura.
Fresh and dry fruits and dairy products processed by women are famous throughout the region, and appreciated for their quality, especially along the Tajik-Afghan border. So are clothing, rugs and textiles hand made from traditional material.
With the building of the Our Village Our Pride sales centre in Taloqan, the local economic model first known as ‘One Village, One Product’ (OVOP), developed by Japanese women 30 years ago, has been reinvented in Afghanistan and given a new name. It is now helping Tajik and Afghan women to realize their potential and make a difference in the local economy of the two countries.
Through the OVOP component of LITACA project, more than 150 people (nearly half of them women) have been trained in business development and local fruit and handicraft production and created over 24 long term employment opportunities for new graduates in targeted communities in order to reduce poverty and improve the livelihood and economic situation of people in Takhar and Kunduz.
LITACA is the first socio–economic development project between Afghanistan and Tajikistan executed by UNDP and MRRD. The project is funded by the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It aims to promote stability and security in the bordering provinces of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. This will be achieved by reducing poverty, supporting economic development and cross-border collaboration among the communities along the Tajik – Afghan border.