Following Internship, Graduate Works to Empower Women in Agriculture

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Thursday, June 10, 2021
GRAIN Research Intern, inspecting wheat spikes for maturity

“Coming from a farming family, I have always wanted to work to help increase agricultural production in Afghanistan.” That’s Shirgan Tatar, a former intern who successfully completed USAID’s inaugural Agricultural Research Internship Program in 2019. 

Developed through USAID’s Grain Research and Innovation project by Michigan State University and Afghan university partners, the internship program connects students with Afghan researchers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock giving students the tools and resources they need to gain employment in the areas of agricultural research and innovation.

Today, Shirgan is a graduate of Kabul University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biotechnology.  Notably, he works as an Agricultural Coordinator with the USAID-funded Edu2Fem activity in Parwan Province. “The internship provided me with the qualifications allowing me to gain employment [and] economically support my family,” says Shirgan.

He focuses on increasing women’s participation in agriculture and education, particularly in rural areas of Afghanistan, developing education programming for girls and young women enrolled in local agricultural high schools and institutes.  To-date, he has helped train more than 120 students in improved agricultural techniques.

In 2019, the internship program provided 23 interns, 13 of whom were women, with practical, employable skills.  In 2021, the program has grown to 28 interns and includes 16 women.

The Grain Research and Innovation project aims to strengthen the ability of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock to conduct quality research on wheat.  The project also helps identify and scale-up impactful technologies and best-practices, including in the areas of productivity, profitability, and climate resilience.

Last updated: July 29, 2021

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