KABUL: The Minister for Women’s Affairs, Dr. Hassan Banu Ghazanfar and Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Jayant Prasad, jointly inaugurated the Community Learning and Business Resource Centre at Bagh-e-Zanana in Kabul, on June 19, 2008. The Centre has been set up by the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) for providing vocational training to women, at a cost of US $1.4m under India’s assistance programme for Afghanistan.
SEWA is the single largest union of self employed women in the informal sector in India. They work towards social empowerment through economic self-reliance by providing work, income and social security to women. Under the project, SEWA, over a period of one year, will impart training to 1,000 trainees selected from amongst the neediest and destitute women’s groups in the three fields of garment making, machine embroidery, surface ornamentation and repairing; nursery plantation, landscaping and green-house; as well as food and fruit processing. In addition, all the trainees will be provided general management, accounting and marketing training for creating long-term financial, marketing and technological linkages. Under the project, 32 candidates were also sponsored for training as master trainers in the three identified vocations in India who, on return, are to take up overall responsibility of training and management at Bagh-e-Zanana, with direct co-ordination and facilitation from SEWA. The Centre is expected to improve the skills and knowledge base of Afghan women, as also create sustainable livelihoods and an environment for socio-economic empowerment for them.
Capacity and human resource development has been accorded a key focus under India’s assistance programme, in cognizance of the priority of the Afghan government itself and as also embodied in the Afghanistan Compact and Afghanistan National Development Strategy. Since 2001, around 3,500 Afghans have been sent for training or studies to India under various capacity building programmes, expected to become the vanguard in tackling the mammoth challenge of institution building in Afghanistan. In particular, since 2006, India has embarked upon an annual programme of training 500 Afghan public officials in short-term courses in a large range of fields and 500 students at graduate and post-graduate levels in India. 30 Indian civil servants have also been deputed under a tripartite India-Afghanistan-UNDP program for Capacity for Afghan Public Administration, for building capacity in various Afghan Ministries. Additionally, India’s Confederation of Indian Industry is also running an Afghanistan-India Vocational Training Centre at Kabul for providing training in the five fields of tailoring, plumbing, carpentry, masonry and welding. Capacity building and on-the-job training have also been in-built as integral components of all future projects.
At the inauguration, Minister Ghazanfar expressed her sincere appreciation for India’s assistance, which she said will contribute significantly to the skills development and economic improvement of Afghan women. On his part, Indian Ambassador Prasad reconfirmed India’s unwavering commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, particularly in the sector of capacity building for women, regarded as the backbone for sustaining the development processes in any society.-SANA