Letter to the readers – The year that was, and things to look forward to

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Letter to the readers – The year that was, and things to look forward to

The year 2016 has truly been an eventful year for Zardozi, both in programme and personal terms. As the year closes, however, Zardozi appears to be on course for a challenging and dynamic future.

A major shock for all Zardozi staff and supporters was the kidnapping of Dr Kerry Jane Wilson from Jalalabad in April. Happily, Dr Kerry Jane was released some months later and is now with her family in Australia. But this event accelerated, in a very painful way, what had been a planned transition of leadership.

In programme terms, 2016 was spent working with Aga Khan Foundation as part of their Support to Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme (SWEEP), funded through the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). The results are in line with our expectations, providing a happy conclusion to Zardozi’s long-time direct funding relationship with DFID, which is adopting new funding modalities likely to lead to new funding opportunities in 2017. In late 2015, Zardozi submitted a funding application to the Canadian Government with a four-year programme entitled ‘Economic and Social Empowerment for Afghan Women (ESEAW)’.

This year, Canada announced its intention to provide up to CAD $5.98m, representing a sizeable proportion of programme costs. We look forward to a successful relationship with Canada over the next four years. The balance funding will be raised from other sources, and the Board has identified potential partners whose ambitions align with our own. The Board and the new Executive Director, once appointed, will pursue these opportunities vigorously, which will extend into Bamiyan and is already expanding into Kapisa as part of a one-year project with Women for Women International.

Since its inception, Zardozi has learned much about the nature of the informal economy in Afghanistan, especially in relation to the role of and opportunities for even the poorest women who’ve had limited or no education. In looking to the future, we want to explore ways in which our knowledge can be used to benefit even larger numbers of women. Zardozi is grateful for all the support provided by DFID, especially over this past year, and looks forward to establishing new relationships that enable us to deliver programmes providing sustainable income growth and empowerment for Afghan women.

Dominic d’Angelo

Chair, Board of Directors

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