Reducir la pobreza rural

Empowering women in Afghanistan Reducing gender gaps through Integrated Dairy Schemes

Publications: Publication

Milk and dairy products are crucial for the daily food security and income generation of Afghan families. Women play a significant role in activities related to animal husbandry. Since 2005, FAO has been implementing the Integrated Dairy Schemes (IDS) project, with financial support from the Afghan, German and Italian Governments and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The aim of the project is to improve food security in Afghanistan by supporting the national dairy sector. Four milk processing plants have been set up in Herat, Kunduz, Mazar-i Sharif and Kabul. They are operating independently and successfully. Together, the four IDS produce 13 900 litres of milk. Over 5 700 smallholder farm families, including 1 540 women, benefit on a daily basis from the regular “milk money”. The Social Protection and Rural Infrastructure and Agro-industry Divisions of FAO, in collaboration with the FAO Representation in Afghanistan, decided to undertake a detailed assessment of the project to investigate its impact in depth on rural Afghan women and their families. The assessment identified lessons learned and pragmatic recommendations to inform the design and implementation of gendersensitive and inclusive dairy programmes, and is intended for practitioners, governments, development partners and the private sector interested in engaging in inclusive small- and medium-scale dairy industry development. The publication draws on the evidence gathered during implementation of the project on the multiple benefits for gender equality and women’s empowerment. The intervention, in fact, proved to be successful in increasing women’s access to income, and in improving women’s socio-economic status within the household and community. IDS can be seen as the first stepping-stone for a large number of rural women to start establishing a better place for themselves in Afghan society.