Sustainability is a key part of all Zardozi strategies. The Nisfe-Jahan (Half the World) grassroots women’s organization has been one of Zardozi’s utmost accomplishments to this end. Established in 2010, Nisfe-Jahan has been nurtured into an organization that is independently run by a group of very committed local women who play vital leadership roles to move their societies toward prosperity. For almost 9 years, the organization with some support from Zardozi has maintained a reputation that sought recognition by President Ashraf Ghani and first lady Rula Ghani.
During his speech in the national conference for non-governmental organizations, President Ghani specifically thanked Nisfe-Jahan in the economic sector. He proudly said, “When the foreign aid ceased to fund Zardozi activities, Nisfe-Jahan was on its feet to support the women in need. Nisfe Jahan is one of Afghanistan’s prides.”
Secondly, what is worth noting about Nisfe Jahan is that it comes from the hearts of the communities; it’s directly involved with women on the grassroots level. Its Business Community Centers which are famous for Manbehs in the local language, are led by the communities’ women to provide business services in return for small fees. The exchange is used as an approach that has almost stood the organization on its feet. Zardozi, on the other hand, lead on overall strategy development and policy and advocacy at the national level.
The organization, unlike others has injected women with the idea that their self-sustainability cannot come through reliability on the organization only, but it comes through the commitment and effort they have to put into themselves and their respective businesses which will generate a reasonable amount of income for them and their families.
Moreover, “sustainability of program outcomes has been further supported by devolving much of the responsibility for program implementation to a cadre of empowered and capacitated women activists who are recognized as leaders in their communities and who have demonstrated an eagerness to support other women,” explains Zardozi’s former executive director Dr. Kerry Jane.
She adds, “In the past few years Kadar have demonstrated a practical and valuable role for this association of economically and socially empowered female entrepreneurs. Nisfe Jahan leaders are unequivocal in their commitment to addressing the barriers that lock impoverished women and their families into poverty. They have already demonstrated that, as local women, they are more effective than Kabul-based Zardozi at identifying and implementing at a local level, the actions needed to strengthen livelihoods, resolve pressing community problems and change attitudes to women’s rights and agency.”
Today, the Kadars are well-accomplished and adequately experienced to echo the voices of women in the government offices to shift their attention to less advantaged women deprived of a lot of things. The Kadars are a bridge that has filled the gap between the impoverished women and community elders, mullahs, private and non-private sectors, lawyers and other local authorities.
In addition, Nisfe-Jahan exhibitions are another considerable step which has facilitated and paved the way for businesses. More women are now able to do marketing for their products and attract more customers through the monthly exhibitions held by the organization.
These are the baby steps toward sustaining Nisfe Jahan, an organization that will run in the long term until it has put a full stop to poverty. “Nisfe Jahan is now committed to a road map to the level of institutional capacity that will enable women to raise and manage their own funds for local projects at the same time as continuing as a funded partner to Zardozi,” says Kerry Jane Wilson.
Kadars Helped Improve Clinic Services
The Mazar-e-Sharif Kadars once again tirelessly helped the women of its community to solve their problems. The clients in Manbeh Gughdak in Mazar-e-Sharif were afflicted by the poor services and inappropriate behavior of doctors in their district. The community people were helpless to tackle the program and did not have the courage to file a complaint against the clinic. Therefore, the only way to address the problem was through Kadars who are well-aware, and have strong support. In consultation with the community leaders, the Kadars together with other women of the village went to Balkh Health Department and discussed the matter. The manager of the department appreciated the women for informing them about the situation and reality on the ground level. After some time of follow up, the Kadars received positive feedbacks about services of the clinic. The people of Gughdak say that now after every three months the clinic is monitored directly by the Health Department. The change is already evident.