Female Entrepreneurs Break Societal Norms

Daikundi Province, located in the center of Afghanistan, is known for two things, producing high-quality almonds and having one of the best educational systems in the country. Despite the quality of education in Daikundi, gender equality is still an issue that plagues the region. Women are often confined to the home and assumed to take the responsibilities of childcare. Ms. Tahira was no exception to this.

Ms. Tahira was married at a young age to a man serving in the national army. At the unexpected news of her husband’s death, she had to not only take over all matters of the household but fight to defeat the social norms established within her community. She overcame the societal portrayals that women are not able to provide for their families by doing just that, she worked to provide for her family.

Oxfam began a partnership with Ms. Tahira in 2015 to establish an almond nursery on her property. As the nursery owner, Ms. Tahira irrigated the almond saplings, gained technical knowledge, and allowed cross learning visits of other farmers to show the techniques of nursery management. In addition, Oxfam linked this nursery with DAIL and neighboring communities by organizing formal cross learning visits to introduce the certified almond saplings to target and neighboring community members to ensure sustainability.

After only three years of nursery management, Ms. Tahira was able to produce around 8,000 almond saplings. Despite this success, an extreme local drought shied nearby almond farmers away from purchasing new trees as even the most ancient almond trees were withering.

Oxfam intervened and enlisted the support of local radio stations to reach out to more possible buyers. Because of these broadcasts, roughly 1,000 almond saplings were purchased by surrounding communities. Additionally, Oxfam successfully brought about the purchase of 3,500 almond saplings by the National Horticulture and Livestock Program (NHLP).

Ms. Tahira’s almond nursery succeeded in making a profit and developing connections with the community, the government, and the private sector. This result earned her the reputation of being a successful entrepreneur and even enabled her to send her son to school.

This partnership not only positively impacted the livelihood of Ms. Tahira’s family, but also brought about change by having quality-certified almond saplings produced and grown in Daikundi Province. Ms. Tahira broke the societal norms and set an example for future female entrepreneurs to follow. Oxfam is proud to contribute to these concrete results and sustainable development in Daikundi through the AACRS scheme with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian Government.