Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
This project is aimed at reducing poverty and gender inequality by improving household incomes and financial resilience through enterprise and job creation, in rural and deprived areas of Sarepul province, northern Afghanistan, benefitting primarily women and their families. It was able to successfully improve the livelihood of the poor and vulnerable by raising their income and business skills, generating household savings, increasing financial resilience, promoting micro-business for the poor and empowering women in social and economic activities and household decision making.
The project’s design was ingenious in many ways and adjusted as the situations changed. The combination of self-help groups, training, and distribution of toolkits enabled the project to reach beneficiaries and achieve its goals. The design was efficient and effective in a context where “insecurity, hazardous weather, remoteness of some communities were major challenges. It also helped the project cope with the devaluing pound sterling that had a negative effect on the project budget.
The project adequately addresses the mission, values and objectives of AGFUND and highly relevant to the theme of the Prize, keeping at the heart of it the overall achievement of poverty eradication and has been extremely successful in achieving its objectives within a short period of three years. It provides a context-appropriate social protection system for beneficiaries in Afghanistan, where Hand in Hand has been active since 2007. The project’s main innovations are the establishment of Self-Help Groups, which focus on business and skills training, creating a safety net to access pooled community funds, access and amelioration of labour market opportunities.
By the end of the project period 9,700 households had successfully launched micro-businesses and experienced an average of 30% increase in the household income. It supported in creating 13,317 jobs. A wonderful fact was that 72% of the beneficiaries were female and 405 people with special needs were served.