Oxfam is implementing the Building Resilient Livelihood Project in two districts of Daikundi Province in partnership with the Organization of Human Welfare(OHW) an Afghan local NGO. The project has two streams; firstly, it will strengthen capacity of dairy and almond producers to sustainably increase volume, quality and profitability of their products which will, in turn, create further income opportunities for the poor as laborers. Secondly, the project will broaden the livelihood options of the poorest and most vulnerable (who may not otherwise benefit from improvements to almond and dairy production) through more relevant vocational or agricultural skills development and means.

Project: Building Resilient Livelihood (BRL)

Start Date

January 1, 2015

Location

Daikundi province (Shahristan and Nili Districts)

Target Population

14, 987 People

Indirect Beneficiaries

26,428 People

Partner

Organization of Human Welfare (OHW)

Project Details

Outcome Description
Outcome1 To increase household income from sales of almonds and dairy products
Outcome2 To increase reliability, volume and quality of production of almonds and dairy products
Outcome3 To increase income generation potential and adaptation options for the most poor and vulnerable households

Intermediate Outcome / Immediate Outcome / Output Target Unit Target Over Project Life
  ToT M F PWD
Dairy and almond producer groups established in 20 communities Person 2,485 1,474 871 140
Establishment of women leaded dairy and almond enterprise (including machineries, furniture, 6 months subsidies and salaries) Person 100 20 80 0
Enterprise member trained on enterprise management, governance and dairy and almond processing. Person 50 9 40 1
Advocacy meetings conducted with government at district and provincial level to garner support for enterprise activities Person 30 20 10 0
Linkage meetings conducted between producers and other value chain players in Kabul and Heart provinces. Person 21 15 5 1
Supported Daikundi government to promote Daikundi products in exhibition in agricultural fair in Kabul Person 20 15 5 0
Established 20 almond demonstration plots Person 120 55 60 5
23 hectares of orchards rehabilitated through terracing and trenching of hillsides and 10,545 almond saplings planted in terraced land Person 2,001 1,580 400 21
The planted almond trees irrigated by women for two years (6 months/year) through CFW incentives Person 390 0 370 21
2.3.2 Provision of inputs to support outcomes of trainings on NRM and watershed management (watershed & pasture management, climate change and ecological training, distribution of almonds and fodder seeds) Person 600 350 200 50
4 almond nurseries established for 2 men and 2 women Person 52 25 25 2
4 Agri Service Centers (2 vet and 2crops) established and inputs provided (2 motorbikes, enough Agri-medicines, plant protection materials, pasture and vegetable seeds and equipment includes solar, freezer and spray machines) Person 4 4 0 0
34 flood mitigation measure projects constructed Person 300 180 120 0
Exposure visits for neighboring villages and other districts to raise awareness of, and access to, nurseries and agri services centers were established Person 123 70 50 3
The feasible irrigation water sources improved through construction of 44 different irrigation projects Person 2,003 1,350 648 35
Appropriate and marketable vocational skills training provided for 100 trainees and tools provided. Person 162 77 80 5
60 greenhouses for vegetable production procured, distributed and established Person 360 125 225 10
400 improved goats distributed to poorest dairy producers and livestock training conducted Person 200 36 138 26
Almond and dairy producers trained on GALS, eldership, gender awareness, social auditing, orchard and livestock management, nursery management and grafting, NRM, watershed, pasture management, financial book keeping, marketing, M&E and PCM Person 4,036 1,798 2,140 88
Total 13,088 7,203 5467 408

Key Initiatives to achieve outcomes:

Formation of producer groups and establishment of women leaded social enterprises:
Oxfam motivated the communities by mobilizing women producers into producer groups to establish women social enterprises(two for dairy producers and two for Almond producers) to improve their local products and making a joint market strategy. The rationale of enterprise is that by working together as a groupof entrepreneurs, women will have the space to define and lead their business livelihood development and be able to collectively meet the demands of the market. The two almonds and two dairy social enterprises that established for 40 women will be profit making businesses, which will be the key vehicle for processing the local products, negotiating with buyers and getting products to the markets. They elected their directorate Board who received technical enterprise management and marketing training and support from the project. The almond and dairy producers overseeing the work of the enterprises will help ensure that the profits are used to benefit all producers, thus fulfilling their obligation as a social women enterprise, and Oxfam will provide the framework within which they can make this happen.

However, the nature of women leading livelihood initiatives was new for both men and women, therefore Oxfam applied the aspects of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) to methodology overcome the hurdles of gender inequality within the household, to empower women, to develop themselves economically and have their own vision and define their individual and collective paths to reach their ambitions. The Gender awareness training also facilitated for men and women to help communities as well as government officers to create a supportive environment for women to take on greater leadership of livelihood initiatives.

Improve resilience through diversified agriculture and establishment of extension service centres: The project rehabilitated 23 hectares of almond orchards, which have been considered as unproductive,by cultivating different types of improved and certified varieties to produce high quality almond which is resistant to drought and diseases. Meanwhile,two Agri-Service Centers and two vet-clinics has be established, which offered a ‘one stop shop’ for almond and livestock producers. The centers operate on a commercial basis providing both technical advice and product support (such as vaccinations, treatment, fertilizer, different vegetable seed varieties etc).the Centers are equipped with basic equipment including, solar fridges, stocks of seeds, treatments medicines and vaccines.

The project also introduced new irrigation practices and technologies to promote more efficient use of water for almond irrigation as well as inter cropping with fodder on hillsides. Based on Mid-term review the amount of water available for irrigation has been increased 5-fold because of rehabilitation and improvement of different irrigation projects.

Improving food security for the poorest:
At the outset of the project a well-being grouping exercise undertaken, which identified the greatest obstacles to livelihood security. Based on this assessment, the project distributed improved hybrid variety of goats, which produce high volumes of milk from early age and frequently produce twin births for the poor women in 20 targeted communities. In addition, the project installed greenhouse technology for the poor women that increased the nutritional intake through greater access to vegetables and increased income generation by sale or barter of surplus production. Furthermore, cash for work was provided as an incentive for poor women to water and care for saplings after they are transplanted as part of the orchard rehabilitation activities. In total 400 women paid to provide water daily to 20 saplings for two periods of 6 months.

To provide a sustainably means of living for the poorest and most vulnerable households, the project conducted 6 major skills training includes automobile mechanic, tailoring, repairing of electronic devices, repairing of sewing machine, English & computer course and tin Making training. These training provided permanent job opportunities and will further provide means of income either in term of self-employment or corporate employment.

Capacity enhancement of producers:
To improve crop and livestock production in rain-fed and irrigated areas, Oxfam provided systematic and reinforcing capacity building that used a range of appropriate methods including: practical demonstration; formal training; informal training; provision of fixed inputs (to allow farmers to put learning into practice).

Oxfam’s capacity building strategy aims to suit the learning styles of farmers by combining practical and demonstrative approaches which changed farmers’ attitude andpractice with transfer of knowledge and ideas. In each target village, Oxfam and OHW agricultural advisors conducted technical trainings for farmers (and interested CDC, MAIL and DAIL officers) on:

  • Almond orchard design, land preparation, irrigation, pruning, training, planting, grafting, pest and disease controland nursery management.
  • Livestock management, feeding, hygiene and stable management
  • Financial book keeping, marketing and almond and dairy processing and packaging.

key approaches and methodologies: Oxfam’s approach involves establishment of producer groups which was an important step toward collective action of the dairy producers for addressing their challenges, increasing their income and utilizing the enterprise facilities for the processing of their products. These groups collecting the milk from targeted communities and transporting it to the enterprises and market for having good income.

capacity building components which increased the skills, confidence and understanding of dairy and almond producer groups and enterprises board members. The main areas which they gained increased capacity are; livestock management consisting proper animal feeding, stable management, animal vaccination and basic treatment, hygiene practices, training on understanding the needs for the new varieties of goat, milking practices, Silage making, urea treatment, gender, leadership, climate change, enterprise administrative and management, products marketing and linkage and advocacy skills.

Hybridizing the local varieties and access to improved almond saplings increased the household income and food security, Oxfam distributed the Beetle variety goats to the women headed household, which gives are able two offspring at one time each year and have more milk and built almond nurseries and demo plots.
Establishing the vet-clinics and agriculture service centers enabled the producers to have access to vaccinations, treatment, and technical advices, which is a key component for having high quality and quantity products.

Building social dairy and almond enterprises which is led by women is an innovation in Daikundi context. These enterprises empowered women to present their products in the market with proper processing, packaging and labelling, which can compete with imported products.

Vocational trainings, CFW initiatives and distribution of income assets like goats and greenhouses to the poorest and disadvantage people improved the livelihood of the mentioned category of the people.

Elaboration on the achievements in brief narrative:

The major achievements of the project that brought greater impact in people’s life are:

  • Increased in household income and food security: the following improvements has been measured:
  • Increased in HH milk production through access to better variety of goat and hybridizing the local goats.
  • Improvement of household diet and income through consumption and selling of the green house vegetable products to neighboring households and in the market.
  • Mortality of the livestock has been decreased due to access to the vaccination and treatment of the livestock and linkage of the livestock producers to the vet-clinics.
  • Better management of the almond orchard through applying the technical learning and access to the agriculture service center and controlling the pest and diseases
  • Social cohesion: majority of the BRL first phase interventions built up social cohesion and used collective approaches for solving their problem and way forward for development, as an example now the almond and dairy producers are organized and collectively advocating for better facilities. The interventions also removed the distances within the community people, CDCs and government department.
  • Climate change and drought impact:
  • water saving, and rehabilitation of the drought affected almond orchards through terracing and trenching techniques and having access to drought resistant varieties that produced in the almond nurseries are replicated as one of the adaptation measure to the climate change impact.
  • Water Usage: rehabilitation of the water sources, better water management and proper usage of the water based on the needs of the plant is one of the other mitigation measure against the drought impact
  • Pasture management: pasture maintenance and rehabilitation and the adapted community base grazing system applied.
  • Minority inclusion: the BRL first phase created the space for the social cohesion of minorities specially the women and people with disabilities to have their presence and contributing in the decision making in social affairs.
  • Protection of hazards: The project protected the community assets and agriculture land through construction of the protection and green walls to mitigate the seasonal flush floods.

Major events/milestones:

Below are the major events occurred during the project life:

Advocacy meetings with govt at district, province and national levels: An advocacy meeting was held at the provincial governor’s office between the provincial governor and 51 enterprise and control committee members (36 women and 15 men) as well representatives from government departments. The Daikundi provincial governor announced her full support to the enterprises and promised to support them to compete with imported products.

Support to Daikundi government to promote Daikundi products:

Oxfam financially supported two agriculture cooperatives attending the agriculture fair exhibition in Kabul. The cooperatives presented Daikundi products and traders recognised the Daikundi apple (Dokhtar Shah) as one of the best in Afghanistan. As a result,many of the visitorsrequested to purchase more from Daikundi farmers in the next season.

Inauguration of para-veterinary clinics and agriculture centre: The two-agriculture centre (one in Nili and one in Shahristan) and two Para veterinary clinics (one in Nili and one in Shahristan) were inaugurated in July 2016 by presence of deputy governor, delegation from different government departments and representative from 43 target and neighbouring communities.

voice of community/testimonials:

30-year-old Najiba is from Sang-e-Moom village of Nili district. She was married at the age of 20 and has two children, one girl and one son.

She says: “We have neither adequate land nor herd as the source of income. After our marriage, my husband went to Iran and worked there as a labourer for several years to earn some money and was sending remittances from Iran to support us.
My husband returned six years ago and brought with him some remittances saved from his labour earnings and bought a mini-bus to make a living. However, an unfortunate incident occurred and the mini-bus full of passengers derailed and collapsed in the bottom of a valley. My husband got seriously injured and we spent a lot for his treatment, which was financed through borrowing from friends and relatives. Our family suffered for the last six years due to the lack of having a breadwinner, because I had two kids I was unable to go outside and work. Life was hard for us and we were totally hopeless and frustrated as our livelihoods were dependent on friends, relatives and benevolent people’s support.”

She added that their difficult situation continued until Oxfam and OHW’s team went to their community and selected community members as the beneficiaries of greenhouses. She and Bumana, who is also a poor woman, were provided with a greenhouse; for the past two years, they worked together as partners.

She says: “in these two years we cultivated different vegetables and sold it to our neighbors. In this season, we are selling 9-10 bunches of vegetables daily, each for 10 AFS, and earning 90-100 AFS daily… Our product is now sold and we are happy about that. The money we earn covers my family’s expenses like tea powder, candy, edible oil, salt, and other necessities, as well as small medical expenses for my husband. I am grateful for all those who made it possible for me.”

What is next for the project (and current status):

Upcoming initiatives

  • Increase the knowledge of producer group to understand the market system and use to improve their access to, and influence in the markets.
  • To make sure that, the two almond and two dairy enterprises established, trained, equipped and profitably selling their products.
  • Raise knowledge of producers about how to process and package their products so that they can be attractive to, and in demand from, end consumers and retailers
  • Build physical capacity of producers to store, process and package their products so that they can establish a place in the market
  • Link producers and merchants so to exchange knowledge and information and establish partnerships
  • Assist enterprises to make linkages to ensure they have the means to get the products to market efficiently and profitably

Expected milestones in the next 6 months:

  • The enterprise building construction, along with the procurement of packaging materials and machineries, will be the initial milestones.Furthermore, the project will provide 6 months support to the enterprise production in term of production packaging, salary subsidy and provision of start-up capital in the first half of 2018.
  • A final evaluation will be conducted after completion of project activities in the third quarter of 2018.

Upcoming Major Events:

Project hand over and inauguration of enterprises: The project in the third quarter of 2018 will work closely with relevant government authorities to hand over each component of project by signing an official MOU to ensure the project sustainability.The almond and dairy enterprises will be inaugurated and start production with participation of high government authorities.

Project Duration

Sep, 2018

Districts

Daikundi province (Shahristan and Nili Districts)

Direct Targeted Areas
Targeted Beneficiaries

13,370 People

Indirect Beneficiaries

26,428 People

Gender Wise

Project Details

Outcome Description
Outcome1 To increase household income from sales of almonds and dairy products
Outcome2 To increase reliability, volume and quality of dairy, almond and other agriculture products.
Outcome3 To increase income generation potential and adaptation options for the most poor and vulnerable households.

Key Initiatives to achieve outcomes:

Promote space and opportunities for women to safely assume greater leadership of their livelihood security:

In the extension phase, the 20 new producer groups from the new target communities will be linked to the established enterprises. The almond and dairy value chain analyses conducted in the foundation phase have revealed the bottlenecks for the products in the market and identified some obstacles such as labelling, processing and packing. This was addressed in the foundation phase of the project through provision of facilities to the enterprises, and further support will be provided to address these issues in the extension phase through additional capacity building for the producers and enterprise members and by building a wider market network through linkages with traders and exposure visits.

 

The project will further focus on building the technical capacity of new producers’ groups in almond orchard and livestock management and will link them to the vet and crop service centres established in the foundation phase of the project.

 

As a result of interventions implemented in the foundation phase, 40 women have become board members of the enterprises, women are leading the almond and diary users’ groups in each community, play an active role in advocacy with the government authorities, contribute the household food security and economy through vegetable production and better livestock management, and received support in establishment of the their private businesses. Interventions aimed at promoting women’s economic empowerment will be continued and scaled up in the extension phase of the project in both existing and new communities. These interventions include leadership workshops and Gender Action Learning System (GALS) training for women in new target communities. Meanwhile, women will lead the almond and dairy producers and will have access to opportunities to increase their income by receiving inputs such as greenhouses, goats and vocational skills.

 

Improve resilience through diversified agriculture and linkage to established extension service centres: New agriculture interventions such as saffron cultivation included in extension phase, which will be introduced for the first time to the 20 previous target communities. As well as private nurseries, demonstration plots, hillside orchards will be stablished to sustainably provide better almond saplings and technical knowledge for male and women beneficiaries. In addition, the project will construct the flood mitigation and irrigation infrastructures to increase the capacity of farmers in agriculture sector.

Improving food security for the poorest:

The vocational skills need study conducted in the first phase of the project identified high market demand for vocational skills. Based on the findings, Oxfam conducted various vocational trainings in car mechanics, English and computer courses, electronic and mobile repairs, tailoring machine repairing, and tailoring. These trainings have built the skills and provided initial business start-up tools and inputs for 100 women, 78 men (including 5 PWDs). As a result, 20 women beneficiaries have started their small-scale businesses working as sewing machine technicians, electricians and tailors. 49 male beneficiaries also have opened small-scale businesses such as a car mechanics, tin makers and electricians. 70 women and 29 men improved their knowledge of English language and computer skills to boost their chances of finding employment opportunities with the government and NGOs. The same set of activities will be implemented in the new communities benefiting 20 women, 20 men, 5 IDPs and 5 PWDs.

 

Capacity enhancement of producers:

Oxfam will provide the following capacity building to improve and strengthen the abilities of the working groups and communities in extension phase.

  • Individual capacity building: focus on the development of technical skills, leadership, orchard and livestock management, knowledge on climate change, knowledge of market and advocacy skills.
  • Capacity building of certain groups: emphasis on the skills needed for business development and enterprise management
  • Building social cohesion: timely updates on the project results will be shared with communities and feedback mechanisms for social auditing will be developed. In addition, the enterprises’ financial reports will be shared with the community for increased transparency.
  • Building the capacity of government authorities: The relevant government departments such DAIL, DRRD, DOWA provincial office has been involved in all stages of the project from design, implementation and monitoring. The local authorities are expected to attend the relevant capacity building sessions and will receive additional targeted technical support.
  • Internship: A recent graduate of agricultural studies will be recruited as intern to explore the rectification of the enterprises’ products, watershed management, saffron and grape pilot initiative results and provide recommendation through a sub-activity internal

Our Success under BRL Project (voice of community):

Ms. Baneen is a 32-year-old woman from Lazir village of Nili district, Daikundi province. She was only five years old when she lost her mother and father and later on got married.

She said, “I got married when I was only eleven years old and did not know anything about married life. Three years after the wedding my husband went to Iran. When he came back after a few years he forced me to leave the home due to some family dispute and he married another woman”.

She further added, “my husband did not give me money for my expenses and did not divorce me either. I have been living with my sister for 15 years now. She is already married and has her own life. Her husband is the only breadwinner, working as a farmer and cannot afford to provide food for his own family. So, I was feeling as a burden to my sister”.

Ms. Baneen was deprived and isolated in society since she was feeling like a burden to others and was not participating in any social gatherings. Community members saw her as a widow and she lost all hope about her future.

Ms. Baneen reached out to community elders for support and was later informed by the head of the community development council and enterprise member that Oxfam is offering vocational skill training for jobless people. She subsequently attended the three months tailoring course, where she learned tailoring skills and received basic tailoring tools such as a table, scissors, tailoring machine, iron, and other small equipment.

As a result of this skill learning, Ms. Baneen has opened her own tailoring shop with the support of the BRL project in Lazir Bazar. There were no tailoring shops in the local market before and therefore she filled a gap in the market. She is earning around 6,000 AFN on a monthly basis to support her livelihood needs and also her sister’s family.

This opportunity has not only helped Ms. Baneen to be independent financially but also recovered psychologically. She no longer feels herself a burden on her sister. Since learning this new skill, she has also transferred this knowledge to her sister. She now plans to expand her business and open another shop in the center of the province. Before, she was isolated from the community and was not invited to any community gatherings or events. However, her new income-generating skill changed the perception of people and increased her recognition and respect within households and the community, which increased her confidence.

Ms. Baneen not only achieved her dignity in the target communities but the local government authorities recognize her as one of the successful businesswomen. She said,” in addition to economic profit, this tailoring skill supported me to regain my recognition in the society, increased my participation in community gatherings, expanded my networks with government authorities and gave me the knowledge to expand my business and support others, who were supporting me before”.