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    Kapisa women’s leaders propose a new plan

    Kapisa women's leaders propose a new plan

    Photo By Master Sgt. Ashlee J.L. Sherrill | U.S. Army Capt. Carla Getchell, Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team III women’s...... read more read more

    KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Kapisa women leaders met with coalition forces at the Kapisa Department of Women’s Affairs compound June 7 to discuss a new class to help poor and widowed women create a source of income.

    Members of the Women’s Empowerment Team, lead by U.S. Army Capt. Carla Getchell, the women’s empowerment coordinator from Frankfort, Ky., with the Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team III, met with the Kapisa Family Economics Director Sulhaila Kohistani and the DOWA Director Saifora Kohistani to discuss the potential of supporting a food preservation course.

    Both the Kentucky ADT II and ADT III have supported the Kapisa DOWA and Department of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock in helping women build income through poultry and bee-keeping projects. With the success of the projects, Sulhaila, who has worked for the DAIL in family economics for 24 years, feels Afghan women could use instruction in proper food preservation techniques.

    “People already understand food preservation,” she said. Part of what she teaches is how to preserve foods free of disease and contamination. The Kentucky ADT III offered the business idea of creating a platform to help minimize contamination and requires a limited amount of additional labor.

    “I know that this is better for them. This is a new technology, a new system and they can be happy with it,” Sulhaila said.

    The new technology is a box built at a specific angle to allow food to dry quickly instead of sitting outside for days at a time, depending on the type of food.

    “Drying is the best way because it stops the bacteria and the mold from growing, and it’s easier to do than jarring or canning,” said Getchell.

    Sulhaila said she learned about the drying box while attending a course in Kabul and has been working with food preservation for five years now. After a bit of research, Getchell agreed the box has great potential to use in food preservation courses taught at the DOWA.

    “I introduced this project to the villages and districts, and I’ve trained some of the people,” Sulhaila said. “I showed them how they have to work on food processing to dry foods.”

    The box is designed to help keep the food healthy for consumption, Getchell and Sulhaila agreed. Sulhaila said people use cardboard or plywood now, and she would like to see them use equipment that would keep the foods more sanitary.

    Getchell said students at Alberoni University have been using the drying boxes, but Sulhaila remarked that although the students use the boxes in their agriculture studies, no one in the Kapisa area has the boxes to use.

    “I’ve read through [the research] and I understand the dimensions of the box and why it works,” said Getchell. “It is great because you can dry up to 5-7 pounds of food in one day, it stops the dust, it helps with insects, so that’s great, but this box is very expensive.”

    According to Getchell, the boxes cost $250 or $11,000 Afghani.

    Getchell pointed out the materials needed and suggested hiring a carpenter to build a few boxes to train the women throughout Kapisa province, 25 from each district. After the training, Getchell explained, the DOWA could distribute the boxes evenly to the province’s district centers.

    “The women would know how to use [the boxes] and have one to use while the carpenter or their husbands learned how to build the boxes,” Getchell said.

    She added that if the DOWA or DAIL found a carpenter who wanted to build the boxes, the Kentucky ADT III could assist with a small business loan to gather the materials for them to start the business.

    Sulhaila was a step ahead and said she already spoke to a carpenter who she said was very professional who would be interested in helping build the boxes.

    “We want to provide the boxes for them to see with their own eyes, to work on it, to learn how to use it for their benefit,” she said.

    The meeting was successful for both the Kapisa women in helping build their futures through agriculture and also for the Kentucky ADT III in helping the Afghan government systems work for their people.

    “As a director, I am a representative of all the [Kapisa] women,” said Sulhaila, “and all the help that Americans provide, we all appreciate it. Especially for the women who have never left their home, now they have something to work on to better their lives. We are all very happy.”



    Date Taken: 06.07.2011
    Date Posted: 06.10.2011 00:20
    Story ID: 71877
    Location: KAPISA PROVINCE, AF 

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