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Transforming Lives

Learning land preparation

A unique exercise is underway at Alberoni University in Afghanistan’s Kapisa province. A small demonstration plot has been prepared and 170 agriculture students are being trained in modern farming techniques. It is part of USAID’s Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives for the North, East and West (IDEA-NEW) program to update the students’ knowledge and skills and compensate for the lack of practical training at most Afghan universities.

Koko Shirin checks on the cabbages growing in her greenhouse

Koko Shirin is looking to literally grow her business. She cultivates off-season vegetables in the greenhouse in her backyard. Each harvest brings in good money, a key consideration for a woman who is her family’s sole provider.

A representative from a privately owned agricultural depot in Nangarhar province hands out leaflets to farmers

Farming just got easier and more rewarding for Hazrat Gul. He and other farmers in Behsud district in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar, have been linked up with certified agricultural depots, from where they can buy reasonably priced, high-quality seeds.

Women sticking labels on to jars of tomato paste

Two USAID projects - Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan and Agriculture Credit Enhancement-Agriculture Development Fund - supported Qarizada owner Said Aref’s search for financing. A 2012 loan enabled Mr Aref to buy machinery and contract with 800 farmers in Baghlan and Balkh for a steady supply of tomatoes.

Psychiatrist Dr Kos (left) with Aziza Eshani, one of the counselors she trained to provide support to bereaved families

After two of her children were killed in a Taliban attack in Kabul, a distraught Rihilla tried to commit suicide. She tried to hang herself; took a drug overdose; slit her wrists. Her vigilant family thwarted each suicide attempt but Rihilla’s distress remained acute. “I kept wondering how much pain my sons felt (when they died),” she says, “once, I put my hand in the oven and another time in the fire, to feel how they suffered.”

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Last updated: January 16, 2015

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