The Women’s Poultry Project in Afghanistan’s Panjshir province is a giant leap forward for the women who call the Panjshir River valley their home.
The project is designed to empower women in the valley by assisting them in providing food and income for families.
Greg Schlenz of the US Department of Agriculture, the agricultural advisor to the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team, said the project began last spring with about 200 families and now includes more than 1,200 Panjshir families in five districts.
In four training phases over three months, the women learn how to raise, maintain and profit from their chickens.
“The first phase is the initial training, where the women learn how to properly care for the chickens,” Schlenz said. “This includes feeding, watering, managing and how to vaccinate against diseases.”
During the second phase, the women receive materials to build their own chicken coops. In the third phase, the women are given 13 hens and two roosters and receive follow-up visits to ensure the chickens are being cared for properly. The fourth phase teaches the women how to market eggs laid by the chickens.
So far the project is a success. Upon visiting the women, many said raising chickens has significantly improved the quality of their lives. Others not included in the project noted the difference raising chickens made and want to be part of the project.
A similar program is being developed to teach Afghans in Panjshir’s Paryan district to care for and benefit from sheep.