A Glimpse into UNIFEM's Centers

Parwan Women's Development Center (Charikar City, Parwan)

The Parwan Women's Development Center (WDC) is located in Charikar City, where UNIFEM rents a two-story building from the Red Crescent Society, located on the same plot. The centre is easily accessible to women in Charikar.

In 2004, the Parwan WDC offered shoe- and bag-making projects. This year, the center offered training in: Psychosocial Counseling; Computer and English Training; Literacy, Health Education and Rights-Awareness; Poultry and Hygiene Education; Patu Weaving, and Legal Aid and Counseling. UNIFEM also supported the Department of Women's Affairs (DOWA) International Women's Day celebrations, which brought together a great number of government, local and international development players.

Said Khail IDP Women's Community Center (Said Khail, Parwan)

The Said Khail IDP Women's Community Center (WCC) is located in a remote rural area approximately one hour from Charikar City. The structure that houses the center is privately owned, although UNIFEM contributes to the rent through the funding of various activities. The main partner involved in running the center is the Afghan Women's Resource Center (AWRC), an Afghan women's NGO that has trained women from the community to manage the center and collect information on women's needs and required activities.

UNIFEM is currently funding the following activities at the Center: Psychosocial Counseling and Literacy, Health Education and Rights-Awareness. The Counseling Project is an innovative program that teaches women relaxation and problem-solving techniques. Women at the Center are enthusiastic about the project and it has increased the participants ability to cope with difficult domestic situations. The Literacy Project offers a small microfinance component through loans of US$20-50 per woman. Personal accounts of women have revealed that the money has been used, to purchase livestock, set up home bakeries, and more. To date, repayment has been so successful that repaid loans are being fed back into the fund to benefit other women who attend the center.

Ghorband IDP Women's Community Center (Ghorband, Parwan)

This WCC is located in a very remote and poor area in the mountains of Parwan province. There are four rooms available, one of which houses a small kindergarten where the participants' children spend time during their mothers' lessons - a fundamental service in areas such as this.

In 2005, UNIFEM continued to support the Humanitarian and Development Centre for Afghan Women (HDCAW) to conduct a new course that includes Literacy (using the official Ministry of Education, Department of Literacy approved curriculum), Health Education and Rights-Awareness Training. The number of women beneficiaries has increased to 200 and regular field monitoring visits reveal that the classes are proceeding very well and the centre is vibrant, with women and girls extremely happy with the lessons and appreciative of the opportunity to spend time with their peers.

Kapisa IDP Women's Community Center (Kohistan, Kapisa)

The Kapisa WCC is located in a small building deep inside the village of Kohistan. It is a clean, warm, and well kept area consisting of three rooms. The surrounding community is quite large, and many women are interested in coming to the center. This center also features a small kindergarten.

At the beginning of the year, approximately 120 women attended the center and participated in a literacy course run by the Afghan Women's Resource Centre (AWRC) with funding from other donors. UNIFEM is now funding a variety of new activities in this center: Literacy, Health Education and Rights-Awareness, Poultry and Hygiene Education, and Legal Aid and Counseling. An innovative course offering women relaxation techniques brings women together and provides opportunities for informal interaction.

Ghazni Women's Development Center (Ghazni City, Ghazni)

The large, eight-room Ghazni center shares the Department of Education compound. However UNIFEM rents a separate, clean and accessible building where the Center is housed.

Currently, UNIFEM funds the following activities in this center: Microfinance, Computer and English Training, Bag-Making, Legal Aid and Counselling, and Honey Production. The center is operating at full capacity. iI is very active and community awareness, appreciation and participation are very high. The success of this center illustrates its potential for expansion with more activities in the surrounding districts.

Kandahar Women's Development Center (Kandahar City, Kandahar)

The Kandahar WDC is located in District 2 of Kandahar City and offers a computer room with seven computers purchased for the computer literacy course

With the help of a local NGO, UNIFEM is now running a Computer and English course in the center and with the assistance of Medica Mondiale, UNIFEM is supporting Legal Aid and Counseling. Microfinance activities are expected to begin in the near future.

Herat Women's Development Center (Herat City, Herat)

The Herat WDC is located a new building about five kilometres outside of Herat City.

Today, numerous activities are in progress and with the assistance of a WDC Coordinator, resulting in the increased presence and appreciation of UNIFEM. UNIFEM is currently funding the following activities: Training in Agricultural Planting; Literacy, Glass Carving; and Computer and English Training. Microfinance activities are expected to begin very soon as well. In addition, through dialogue and encouragement with DOWA, a number of the UNIFEM Computer and English project beneficiaries are women living in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shelter, who are now learning new skills for their advancement in the community.

"All by ourselves we have raised US$300 because we belong to the centre and have organized ourselves. We want to start a shoemaking business. Now UNIFEM with the NGOs is helping us with training and marketing so that we can make a profitable business. We have a small shop in town where we sell our products: 'this is the first time ever that women can trade in Charikar. It was never allowed before.'" ---The leader of a widows' organization of 340 widows, many of whom are disabled and caring for four or more dependents, about her experience at the Women's Development Center in Parwan.




Website Sections: