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Improving the Economic Independence of Women Protection Centers and Its Beneficiaries Through Market-Driven Entrepreneurship

Activities:

While women’s protection centers can be seen as safe heavens to escape from an insecure environment, taking refuge for many women means that they have to cut all family ties due to dangers of “honor killings” or difficulties to arrange khula. As such, they are often required to rebuild their social lives while simultaneously finding coping mechanisms to deal with their psychological traumas. Protection sectors are therefore inter-disciplinary institutions that not only provide food, shelter and medical assistance, but also attempt to provide literacy, educational and vocational resources for women to (re)gain their independence. However, the offered opportunities at these protection centers generally fail to provide a comprehensive package that could facilitate sustainable pathways for reintegration into society due to a lack of resources.

This project aimed to build the foundations for AWSDC in Kabul to enable them to provide such as comprehensive package that will last post-project and can serve as a potential template for other women’s protection centers to emulate and learn from. It contributed to financial security of the AWSDC center in Kabul while the 208 direct beneficiaries move towards economic independency through becoming women entrepreneurs. An additional 220 indirect beneficiaries were targeted through the community, provincial, national and international dialogues, which were organized to support the multiplier effect of the project by facilitating multiple interactions between the shelters and relevant government and civil society stakeholders.

Outcomes:

EPD conducted a Rapid Market Assessment (RMA) to examine barriers that limit the women entrepreneurs’ access to markets and to provide information on the size and growth potential of specific trades in the local and regional markets. Based on the findings of RMA, an advocacy toolkit was developed to raise awareness about the importance of women protection centers in addressing VAW and improving the financial sustainability of women protection centers during community, provincial and national dialogues.

On the other hand, 270 women were trained by AWSDC and EPD on leadership, business management and tailoring on metric system based on market demand. The main emphasis of the training was to help women learn new skills and be able to start their own small businesses.