News: ADT visits Paktya women’s center, university, farm
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Soldiers of the 2-45th Agribusiness Development Team conducted a multiple-stop mission to Paktya University, a women’s center and a farm in Gardez Dec. 4.
The first stop of the mission was the women’s development center. U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jill Graham from Tahlequah, Okla., ADT administrative officer, met the director of the women’s center and discussed the upcoming installation of a greenhouse.
U.S. Army Spc. Mandy Kennedy of Ellsworth, Wis., ADT education specialist, conducted an assessment of the greenhouse construction. The director also wanted help from the ADT with poultry and beekeeping training, which the ADT plans to address in the coming weeks.
“The women’s center director would like the profits from the greenhouse to be used to help women in the province,” Kennedy said.
Radio is the primary means of communication in Afghanistan, said Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Fromm from Enid, Okla., ADT information operations noncommissioned officer. He issued hand-cranked radios to Afghans at the center.
Fromm said self-powered radios allow Afghans to listen to the radio without the need for electricity, which is important since most Afghans do not have access to reliable power for television, internet access or basic needs.
The second stop on the mission was Paktya University, where the ADT assessed the progress made over the past few months.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. John Altebaumer from Guthrie, Okla., ADT agricultural team chief, and Kennedy met with the university chancellor of Paktya to discuss improvements the ADT wished to help university officials make over the coming months.
“Some of the future projects at the university include generator power, internet access throughout the buildings, a greenhouse, a faculty exchange program and incorporating female students,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy talked to the faculty about the university admission testing that recently took place. This year more than 30 Afghan females took the test for admission alongside male students.
“Coed testing is something that did not occur during the Soviet or Taliban rule,” Kennedy said. “It is a positive sign of improvements made in the province over the past few years.”
The last stop of the day was at a local farm.
Projects currently under construction include a multipurpose building, generator building, a perimeter security fence and electrical and sewer project. U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Billy Payne from Aubrey, Texas, ADT project manager, gauged the improvements made since the last visit a few weeks ago.
“The contractors have made steady progress ... at the farm,” Payne said. “The ADT will work with the contractors to address specific issues that have been encountered during the projects.”
Payne said the mission will allow the ADT to increase agricultural production across the province, maximizing the resources that the ADT is able to provide and advise Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan officials in order to strengthen the relationship between the Afghan government and the local population.