TACT WOMEN EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME
The Afghan women face many issues in society, in their homes and within their families. Low social status, lack of community involvement, a lack of education and a lack of basic health care are all issues that Afghan women continue to face today. This lack of education is a major reason why women occupy a low position in Afghan society. Coupled with discrimination, it means that the opportunities for women are limited. In addition, women are extremely dissatisfied with existing gender-based discrimination in public, private, and other contractual sectors such as carpet-weaving and spinning. Discrimination against women in organisational contexts ranges from discriminatory behaviour to a lack of reinforcement, encouragement, and appreciation for women’s initiatives and efforts. As a result, “women in Afghanistan are more likely than men to be engaged in various types of informal activities, such as unpaid family work and small-scale economic activities that are difficult to measure, and that offer less enjoyment of employment rights and benefits”, according to the UNDP Report 2009 on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Women’s businesses offer women the opportunity to improve their economic position.
Through these businesses they can also contribute to the third aspect of the theme of the Afghan National Development Strategy - “A society of hope and prosperity based on a strong, private sector-led market economy, social equity, and environmental sustainability.” Assisting women to be successful in business, working to reduce the constraints on women businesses and celebrating the success of women in business will not only assist women but contribute to the third National Development Strategy’s goal of economic and social development: “Reduce poverty, ensure sustainable development through a private sector-led market economy, improve human development indicators, and make significant progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.” Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities.
In brief, TACT is committed to uphold and advocates for the rights of Afghan women and children. We actively develop initiatives that incorporate gender perspectives and aim at developing in areas focused on violence against women, human rights and sustainable community development projects. TACT is currently serving the women in the following areas:
• 1. TACT Women’s Business Center and Women’s Entrepreneur Training - an effective method to facilitate women unemployment that enhances their skills to become self-employed and develop their own SMEs. It is expected that the knowledge the unemployed women gain during the program will allow them to develop their own businesses by efficiently using their limited resources and/or loans they may acquire from financial institutions and banks.
• 2. Free membership at TACT’s Business Association club and TACT will continue to provide them with business support services, export & import support and participation in national and international exhibitions to promote women’s made products. So far, two workshops have been conducted and several donors have been contacted to support our initiatives.
• 3. Capacity building and training for women about NGOs/CSOs management
TACT devised to use the power of education and technology with the aid of our e-HEAL (Electronic Health Education in Any Language) Talking Books as a simple-to-use social behavior change communication (SBCC) tool to help pass life-saving messages on health and other social interventions such as prevention of gender based violence (GBV). These messages can be in local languages (e.g. Pashto, Dari, etc.) to enable young women, caregivers, lactating mothers and households that are preliterate (cannot read and write) better care for themselves and their newborns.
Talking Book and TACT Digital Pen is an effective tool for peer learning. With an established fact that peers reinforce new learning and adopt new behaviors. The Talking Books™ are interactive, audio-visual tools that makes learning very simple, engaging and exciting by making quality content prepared by health experts easily available to the target learners (women of childbearing age) in a language that they understand (e.g. Pashto, Dari, etc).
To use the Talking Books™, the user simply turns on the TACT digital Pen™ and taps on the pages (texts or images) of the specially printed digital paper books to enter an exciting new world of interactive audio on paper to gain information on nutrition, hygiene and more.
TACT is employing peer learning model for young women and caregivers to channel key messages on nutrition and hygiene. This BCC has been proven to be a powerful means to inform young women and caregivers about nutrition and hygiene that improve maternal and child health. What is very cost effective about the technology is that the Talking Book and TACT digital pen can be used by group of women in multiple turns. Hence many young women and caregivers can be reached using the technology.
Using Talking Book to prevent gender based violence (GBV) in the community TACT has designed model to use the Talking Book technology to channel key messages to head of households and young women on prevention of GBV. The Talking Book is now a self-educative and counselling platform to prevent GBV in households and empower women with the right information on how to manage and avoid GBV.