Girls Learn City Skills in Rural Areas

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Women and girls learn computer skills and English in a rural area to expand employment opportunities

USAID is strengthening the capacity of women-focused civil-society organizations to contribute to the social, economic, and political development of women throughout Afghanistan.

Farkhar is a remote district of Takhar Province that only recently has been connected to the rest of the province with the help of a newly built road. Education and employment opportunities for women are scarce.

There are three schools for girls in the district but no English or computer training facility for women. There is limited access to outside resources. Despite its remote location and economic challenges, people are receptive to women’s education, the key to social change.

The Takhar Women’s Development Association applied for a quick impact grant for funding from USAID to establish an English and computer-training center for women and girls. After meeting with USAID, the Department of Women’s Affairs, and the Governor of Takhar to discuss where implementation of the grant would most benefit the province, the association members selected Farkhar District.

The grant was developed to reach 40 female participants, but scores of women and girls rushed to be included as participants. The number of participants grew to 60 with many more waiting for the next term to join the classes. The classes are highly popular with teachers and high school students who wish to access the wealth of knowledge available on the internet in English among the participants.

Mohammad, the head of the association, said, “Three girls share a single computer. We had to repair two old computers and bring them to the class.”

Expanding its reach, the association recently moved its training center to a girls’ school where it provides training to 75 women and girls in three shifts. Aiming to spread knowledge throughout the community, three of the association’s former students opened a new training center at another girls’ school.

Although employment opportunities are not extensive throughout the district, employers have committed to give priority to the trained women as opportunities arise. The association has made a significant impact on the community and greatly enhanced the overall level of education available to young women.