Crafting a new livelihood in Afghanistan

Wire weaving leads one Afghan woman to improve her family's economic situation

Fatema took advantage of an FAO project that taught her to weave the wire mesh holding together the stones that protect her ancient village from flash floods and soil erosion.

©FAO/Habib Hemat


Nestled under the looming ruins of the ancient Nariman fortress, the village of Cheshma Shirin (meaning “Sweet Source” in Dari) is home to Fatema and her three children. Like most of the other 250 inhabitants of this village, located 30 kilometres from the provincial capital Qala-e Naw, they belong to the Sadat tribe, a minority community in Afghanistan. 

These days, in order to make a living, Fatema spends her days weaving the wire mesh holding together the gabions, or cubic blocks of stones used to shore up the banks of the river, to protect the ancient village from flash floods and soil erosion. The gabions also form little dams to capture water from the increasingly erratic rainfall and irrigate the pistachio trees for which this province of Badghis in northwestern Afghanistan is renowned.

Fatema learned this essential weaving skill through a World Bank-funded project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This Emergency Food Security project focused on providing urgent and essential livelihood support and health services, in addition to food assistance, to the people of Afghanistan. It complements ongoing FAO programmes, funded by the Asian Development Bank and other resource partners, which combine immediate lifesaving and livelihood-protecting assistance with activities geared toward longer-term recovery and resilience-building.

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