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Emergence of a Woman Leader as a result of ActionAid Intervention (A Case in Positive Deviance)

Naworak Nargis is located in Panjab district of Bamyan province with 15 households. The main means of livelihood for all the households is farming with vegetables being the major crops.   The village is 5 KM away from the center of Panajb.

Golnar is one of CBDMC members in search and rescue group in the village.  Her family has 11 members including her parents, 4 brothers and 5 sisters. Her older sister has graduated from high school and could not go to the university because of the income poverty. Three of her younger sisters and one of her younger brothers go to school.  Her father is a farmer and her mother is a house wife. Golnar herself is studying in the first of her 2 years course for her agricultural degree in an agriculture institute in Panjab district.

Golnar attends her college in the morning and works on agricultural land with her father, particularly in the spring season, for land preparation,   vegetable cultivation and irrigation.  She is happy with the practical knowledge that she gains while working on the land.  She says “it helps me to connect the theoretical knowledge with the practical experience I gain while working with my father on the land.”

Golnar was one of the few women participants of the training on the “Management of the Soil Salinity” ActionAid had organized in collaboration with Agricutural Department of Bamyan University for the farmers of Panjab District in 2017.

Golnar says “in the past we did not have information on the adverse impact of saline soil on plant growth and on suitable irrigation practices for the local soil types.  Consequently, we faced plant diseases and lack of water for irrigation. For example, we and our neighbor Mr.khadem cultivated vegetable like onion, cabbage, leek etc. without proper information on the management of saline soil; every year we cultivated but could not harvest good produce as the plant died because of the high content of salt in the soil. Post training, we have started testing salinity level in the soil, and if needed, replacing it with appropriate soil. Besides, we apply knowledge of crop rotation, the type and quantity fertilizers suitable for the soil, and appropriate seeds and irrigation methods.”

Golnar further adds that on her 1 jirib of land, post training the harvest increased from 70 Kg in the past to 100 kg this year, which has fetched them 7000 Afs, an increase of over 3000 Afs from last year.  The improved agricultural practices and income from the harvest have enhanced food security and overall wellbeing of Golnar’s family.

Golnar, due to her education and practical knowledge has now become a recognized leader in her village. Many women in her village are inspired by her and wish to attend such trainings in the future.