One of the key priorities of ICARDA activities in Afghanistan is raising the capacity of the country’s women farmers. With funding from AusAid, the Center recently conducted training with the staff and community members of Action Aid, an international NGO based in South Africa and working across 45 countries to tackle poverty.
The focus of the training was milk processing, dairy value addition, animal vaccination, and effectively identifying market opportunities. Initial discussions included: milk quality control, quality assurance, milk quality/density tests for grading, standardization, basic requirements for milk processing, storage and transportation.
Subsequent sessions involved practical training covering procedures to accurately measure the quantity of milk, test its purity, and check for possible contamination; and the methods needed to produce value-added products, including cheese and yogurt.
Participants were sensitized about the important role they could play in improving income and family wellbeing; the role that women play at the national and international level to manage livestock and other income generation enterprises; and the laws and charters introduced to promote gender actions at all levels and protect marginalized women from any human rights violation.
The women were encouraged to adopt the activities in their own households and educate their neighbors. Pre-training awareness levels and post-training learning were assessed through pre and post training tests for all 24 participants, and there was 58% average increase (pre-test score 11%, post-test score 69%) in knowledge among participants.