Womenâ€™s Fair Days
The Womenâ€™s Fair Day initiative aims to bring local women producers together and assist in the process of community mobilization. The concept was piloted in Charikar City where women were given free access to tables to display their products at prices they set themselves. Fair Days are advertised through local radio and television announcements and through the UNAMA press mechanism. The Fair Days also provide opportunities for other organizations to disseminate information on topics relating to governance (elections, the constitution, the parliamentary process), health and micro-credit.
The events have attracted between 100 and 200 women, of which 20 to 30 brought products to sell. The idea of the fair is also new for the women, and many are enthusiastic participants. Additionally, UNIFEM plans to replicate the initiative of the Womenâ€™s Fair Day in other centers.
|â€œI am a widow, I have five children. My husband was killed by the Taliban. Since my children are small, I go house-to-house to do laundry and get paid a wage. We are living â€˜hand to mouthâ€™ - just to survive. As soon as I heard through the radio about the Fair Day, I cancelled work today. I quickly collected the embroidery cloths which I kept for years in my wooden trunk with a wish that I could sell them. I told myself, if I could sell, I would buy a new sewing machine to make dresses for the neighbours. At night, I couldnâ€™t sleep because of joy and I counted every hour to get near to the fair day. I thought I might never go to wash house to house again,â€ stated Fair Day initiative participant, Ashia. She continued â€œwe didnâ€™t have a space to gather in the past. In our village the women mostly should stay in four walls of their house, however, this space gives them a chance to be out for a while from their houses to enjoy themselvesâ€¦.and they become cleverer!â€|
Local Tailoring Initiative
UNIFEM is supporting a tailoring initiative in Kabul that builds on various efforts in recent years to train women in tailoring with a view to earning independent income. Working with a professional fashion designer from Italy, ten women and a project leader are producing a clothing line utilizing products available on the local market. The women will be involved, alongside UNIFEM staff, in the entire production process â€“ from site management to resource location and raw material procurement, to managing marketing outlet relations. The target market for the products are the local â€œfashionableâ€ Afghan women â€“ a segment of the population that has access to disposable income, is interested in a modern look, but is currently obliged to purchase products imported from China, Pakistan and India, for lack of alternatives on the local market. UNIFEMâ€™s aim is to play a supportive role throughout the whole process, providing women with the needed guidance and creative inputs, while putting them in the forefront of the interactions that will take place between themselves and consumers. Lessons from the project will also contribute to a deeper understanding of the potential for womenâ€™s entrepreneurial development.