MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: Female leadership delivers collaboration empowering widows in Afghanistan

Media Release, 1 May 2015

Mahboba’s Promise and Food Ladder announce a collaborative social enterprise project in Afghanistan.

Australian-based non-profit organisations Mahboba’s Promise and Food Ladder are pleased to announce the launch of a collaborative social enterprise project addressing food security of vulnerable women and their families in Afghanistan.

The project is titled ‘Food Ladder Oasis for Afghan Women’.

Mahboba’s Promise, an organisation that has worked to support vulnerable women and children of Afghanistan for over 15 years will provide the location, utilising the site of its currently operating permaculture farm just outside Kabul for Food Ladder to install its innovative hydroponic social enterprise solution.

The project will address food security by providing infrastructure as well as training to widows in Kabul so that they can grow their own food using Food Ladder’s high-yield, hydroponic greenhouse system. The system will produce enough food to supplement the diets of some 250 people, generate jobs for 30 widows and become the basis of a sustainable social enterprise servicing the broader community. With a key concern for both organisations being empowerment, this project will improve the conditions of women, making them self-sufficient, and provide them with access to quality produce.

“It is Food Ladder’s mission to deliver inexpensive, easy to operate horticulture infrastructure to communities challenged by inadequate or unreliable food supply to provide nutrient-rich produce and a means of employment for the poor, “ says Food Ladder Director Kelly McJannett. “In that sense this project in Afghanistan fits our mission perfectly.”

The specific goals of the project are to, (1) engage 30 widows in the social enterprise, provide training and employment through the hydroponic system, (2) generate a yield of green leafy vegetables to supplement the diets of 250 people, and (3) after 12 months, leverage funds generated through the sales of produce to expand and employ a further 10 widows from the community.

“Kabul has a temperature range from 40C to -5C,” explains Mahboba’s Promise Founder and President, Mahboba Rawi. “This means that with regular farming methods there is only a window of 5 to 6 months in the year when food can be grown. The Food Ladder solution will enable more food to be produced for a longer period.”

It is expected that food production yields will be enough to allow families to not only cover their own consumption, but will also provide enough for sale at market to provide an income source.

Both Mahboba’s Promise and Food Ladder are eager to point out that the collaborative ‘Food Ladder Oasis for Afghan Women’ project will address various Millenium Development goals: MDG 1, eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; MDG 3, promote gender equality and women’s empowerment; and MDG 7, ensure environmental sustainability.

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