Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Afghanistan: Women plan for future

Source: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
Date: 27 Jul 2010
ISAF Joint Command - Afghanistan
By U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Holly Hess

KABUL, Afghanistan (July 27) - Members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Panjshir met with Annisa Gul of the District Development Assembly for women's affairs in the Paryan District Saturday to discuss various projects and make a humanitarian assistance drop.

The women's affairs representatives from the DDA report women's affairs issues from their district area to the district governor and provincial development counsel in order to make improvements in their specific area.

"We are working on promoting women's education and getting supplies," said Gul, through an interpreter. "We are also working on getting electricity for the girls' school." Gul said she has big plans for the future and has worked hard since being elected to the position six months ago. She works with a women's shura that helps her read, write and create project ideas.

"We are working on getting a sewing project and maybe a carpet loom for Paryan," she said. "If we get a loom we could sell to the shops in Paryan for profit." Grants from the U.S. Embassy are available specifically for women's affairs projects, said U.S. Army Spc. Allison Cherkosly, a Panjshir PRT civil affairs member.

"They are underutilized because most people don't know about them," said Cherkosly. "That is where the PRT comes in. We will help her submit the projects."

After the discussions on future women's affairs projects, Gul accompanied the PRT to Kohe-sur Village to make a humanitarian assistance drop for a girls' school. Members of the Panjshir PRT civil affairs team dropped off more than 200 book bags, school supplies and a tent. In the village, school is conducted all year on a dirt mound with more than 200 students.

"We will use the tent to help protect the students from weather," said Hajj Shah Wali, a National Solidarity Program member and schoolteacher in the village.

These supplies encourage more girls to go to school and are important because they need things like pencils, to learn, said Wali. Within the next several weeks, a permanent tent will be brought to the village by the Panjshir PRT civil affairs team in addition to winter clothes for the upcoming cold-weather months.

"These people are really happy to receive help," said Haji Shahwali, Community Development Counsel leader for the Kohe-sur Village. "The PRT is the first to provide help for the village, and we are very thankful."