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Monthly Meeting – Mechanisms for Supporting Women Handcrafts

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26 April 2017
Community and media center Balkh (Maulana Peace House) organized an event on 25th of April 2017 to discuss support mechanisms for advancing women handcrafts. Twenty participants including civil society representatives, representatives of labor organizations, representatives of labor and social affairs department, youth and student, both male and female, participated in the event.
The aim of the event was to analyze the current mechanisms of supporting women handcrafts and also evaluate possible ways for the development of new mechanisms for supporting women handcrafts in Balkh province.
Traditionally, women handcrafts have played a positive role in family economy and economic independence of women across Afghanistan. But women have numerous challenges including lack of proper supporting mechanisms.
Participants highlighted that women through their handcrafts in Balkh and across the country play a tangible role in the national economy; however they lack supporting mechanisms from government as well as from international community and NGOs. Lack of market, the import of similar products from abroad at a cheaper rate, lack of appropriate packaging, import of some raw materials from abroad, lack of personal and job safety for people and women were identified as the most pressing challenges before handcrafts growth, especially for women handcrafts. 
Participants suggested mechanisms such as use of women handcrafts and products by government agencies instead of imported products,  preventing uncontrolled imports of foreign products with increasing tariffs and taxes on these products by the government, considering a day as women's market day in cities across the country, sponsored events and supports of big and small businesses managed by women, setting up more exhibitions, establishment of  sales centers for  women handcrafts in areas near airports  or at airports across the country, increasing the capacity of women producers, marketing in neighboring countries, the region and beyond  for handcrafts produced by Afghan women… were highlighted as some of the mechanisms that can help with the growth and development of women handcrafts.
Abdul Mateen is student in Balkh University and a participant of the event says that he managed a district level dairy business, producing a creamy dairy product and selling it for four years in Khulm district, and from that business he made a living for himself and his family and now he is able to study.
Ms. Zahra from Dehdadi, a participant, who has been working with a group of women producing a form of local paste, jam, raising dairy animals, she also says that women in the villages work side by side with their male counterparts to meet their individual needs and strengthen their own and their families’ economy and they have proven that they are effective.