Follow my Story is a project by Today's Afghanistan Conciliation Trust (TACT). It aims at empowering indigenous Afghan women to share their stories using digital media tools (audio podcasts, blogging). Afghan women continue to be under extreme oppression in term of education, health, and employment, which have restricted their participation in economic activities. TACT in close cooperation with radio MRASTA will organize workshops to build capacity amongst local women on the use of audio recorders and internet to develop and share their own success stories.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
In Afghanistan, women and girls were systematically discriminated and marginalized. This resulted in deteriorating economic and social conditions of women in all areas of the country. Despite, these heavy odds, Afghan women have always been making a significant yet silent contribution in sustaining their households and even managing small enterprises. The country has a 14 per cent female literacy rate. Computer literacy remains even lower. TACT as an active member of the Afghan Women’s Business Federation (AWBF) has been continuously working with women groups across the country. Currently, TACT is actively working on establishing Women’s Entrepreneur Training in Kabul. “Follow my Story” project will allow us to elevate the awareness of successful activities undertaken by many Afghan women.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
The project will be coordinated by Abdulhaq Niazi, Director of TACT, who also serves as Business Consultant at AWBF (https://twitter.com/tact_afg). He will be supported by Amanullah Jahanyar, who is a Chief Editor for MRASTA Radio and Magazine. In order to support both Mr Niazi and Mr Jahanyar in organization of the workshops, we will be recruiting citizen media volunteers from the AWBF to work with us. We will also engage computer literate women from our community to volunteer in the project.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Upon the completion of workshops participants will be encouraged to share their stories using blogs, audio podcasts, and social media. The most interesting and inspiring stories of Afghan women successes will be shared via MRASTA and can be featured in MRASTA magazine. The main topics that will be encouraged are self-employment, entrepreneurship, gender equality and sexual diversity. The purpose of these activities is to share the knowledge, success stories and providing group support for the women activities in Afghanistan. In particular we will encourage participants to share:
1) Short stories documenting the challenges and successes they encounter in their communities,
2) Stories presenting the local problems and adaptation solutions that can be working in the their communities
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established or plan to establish that will contribute to the success of the project.
TACT is an active member of the Afghan Women’s Business Federation (AWBF) and both organizations are collaborating in serving women’s entrepreneurs, fostering their self-reliance and enhancing their capacity building for employability. TACT has also recently registered MRASTA FM radio station in Nangarhar province and a monthly magazine in Kabul for the purpose of “using media as a development tool”. TACT is working on establishing a center for Women’s Entrepreneur Training in Kabul to facilitate youth employment and skills development (becoming self-employed and developing SMEs). In addition, we are currently implementing a Book’s Aid Project in cooperation with Association Swiss Morning Star (ASMS), donation of non-political and non- religious books useful to this project’s participants.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
25 women will be trained in a direct training. However, the program will not be focused only on the delivery of one-time training but lasting mentoring and assistance At the later stage of the project, the successful women, who have been already trained and are active in the program, will be encouraged to organize support groups for themselves and provide assistance to new incoming participants. We will organize community outreach event to inform about the project.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
We will use audio and voice recorders, computers and internet connection USB Modems. We will also depend on the production services of the MRASTA radio to implement the project. The radio staff has training in many media programs especially audio editing and field reporting. We will be providing technical training on the usage of voice recorders as well as creating blogs and audio podcasts.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
We have a tiny representation office in Nangarhar but we can provide a proper place for the workshop.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
TACT is an impartial not for profit Afghan local NGO which is free from linguistic, ethnic, tribal, religious and political affiliations and prejudices. Based in Kabul, TACT has liaison offices so far in Nangarhar, Laghman, Khost, Badakhshan, Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat provinces. As an organization seasoned in civic education efforts and as an Afghan local NGO staffing with extensive experience working with people at the grassroots, TACT has a unique understanding of methodology that would work with Afghanistan citizens. Amongst others, TACT is devising to promote peace through sport competition tournaments in some major cities/provinces throughout the country (Afghan’s Peace Tournament) as well as through the establishment of the center for Women’s Entrepreneur Training in Kabul.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
One of the major challenge for this project will be to overcome the “passive culture” primarily amongst women by making them learn to secure their existence in the socio-economic environment in Afghanistan and play their active role in future leadership and nation building (we will overcome this by joining our efforts during the outreach phase of the project with AWBF and MRASTA). Secondly, women and youth coming from the rural population depend on agriculture. Depending on the season, keeping time for training and stories development may be a problem. Finally, despite the fact that Kabul is an increasingly safe city, the safety of training session must be considered (we will employ gurds for the session).
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
We will measure and evaluate our progress by monitoring the completion of several, pre-determined outputs:
1. Community outreach – to inform community about the project
2. Develop detailed training manual and segregation of duties amongst participants.
3. Organization of training session.
4. Monitoring of women self-organization
We will measure our impact by following on:
1. Number of blog and social media accounts created
2. Number of stories shares individually via blogs, radio, audio podcasting or featured in MRASTA magazine
Success will be defined as creation of at least 25 active blogs or social media accounts and publication of 25 stories.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
Community outreach: By 31 May 2014
Organization of training session: By 30 June 2014
Weekly monitoring: ongoing from 30 June 2014
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
15 Audio recorders: 750
Internet cost (3 months following the training session): 600
Stationary for 25 trainees: 125
Manual development (print & copy): 150
Training hall: 150
Lunch and refreshments for trainees: 150
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
We would appreciate any form of assistance allowing us to connect to other organizations and individuals interested in further promotion of the aspirations of Afghan women communities.
Today’s Afghanistan Conciliation Trust (TACT)