The women of the silk road

Starting February 2014
Objectives Support of the Afghan women rights, through the improvement of work, quality and productivity of women in the silk market and the launch of new commercial channels for the manufacturers of Zinda Jan district
Project status In progress
Local partner raada
– RAADA (Reabilitation Association and Agricolture Development for Afghanistan)
Funded by mae
– Emergency Program – Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
– Private donors

The women in Zindajan District are suffering vulnerabilities having less working opportunities and less sources of income. Most of them are illiterate, having no knowledge of their rights and are working at home as homemakers.
The women in Zindajan District are too interested to work if there is a working opportunity. From a very long time ago, they are doing silk rearing every year which provides them with some income. Since the main source of livelihood in the area is agriculture, some are helping their men at the time of crop production.

Since silk production is a good source of livelihood in the area, especially for women, the project aim is to improve the productivity of the sector and increase their marketing opportunities. In the framework of the project, all the phases of silk production will be improved thanks to specific advanced training sessions (on silk rearing and cocoon production, silk processing, silk natural colouring, silk weaving) and the furniture of new machines and the plantation of additional mulberry trees (the only food for silk worms) to increase the production. Improving silk value chain helps the target area have a good economy and good source of livelihood.

The project will involve 1000 women and 200 families, improving the women condition and the level of life of the families.

The first month of the project will be dedicated to coordination with relevant departments, select the staff and the participants, to define the methodology and the program of activities, and to buy the materials, equipments and tools for the activities. There will be 7 training courses; scientific method of mulberry trees plantation, new methods of silk rearing, new methods of silk process, silk natural colouring, pure natural silk weaving, silk marketing training and women rights training.

The silk rearing training continues for 4 months in which one senior trainer will train 10 local trainers on better methods of silk rearing. Each local trainer then provides the same training for 100 women before and during the silk rearing period going house by house which totally provide training for 1000 women. The silk processing course (for 10 men) and silk waving course (for 10 women) will be implemented in 6 months in which each trainer provides the beneficiaries with on the job training on methods of processing cocoons and silk weaving. They will use the training on job methodology, following the women directly in the working places.

In February the mulberry trees will be planted and will start the tool distribution (scissor, saw, and shovel). The contact with the families and the women will be carried on by the two social workers, in coordination with the human right trainer, who will implement a course on women rights and advocacy. The women rights training course will take place 5 times during the project implementation (1 time per month) in which 15 interested women will participate.

A training course on marketing involving the trainer staff, will be implemented by an Italian trainer and will take one week for a total amount of 10 hours. During the course a text with the summary of the lessons will be delivered to the participants and there will be projected videos on the subject.  The marketing trainer will follow in progress the whole project path. A course on the natural silk colour and on the Italian design will be implemented by Italian experts. The design expert will help the local designer to realize a new collection focused on the Italian fare trade Market.

In October the project will participate to the Milano Fair Trade Exposition, with a joint stand VDT – RAADA; at the event, RAADA President Dr. Nazir Ghafoori will participate.

A final conference on the project results and silk market will be realized in Herat at the conclusion of the project, with the involvement of the local authorities, the Italian Cooperation, the Silk producer Association, DAIL, Vento di Terra and RAADA. At the conference the local journalists and media will be invited.