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How do labour programmes contribute to social inclusion in Afghanistan? Evidence from BRAC’s life skills education and livelihoods trainings for young women

Research reports

Written by Babken Babajanian, Jessica Hagen-Zanker

This project examined the impacts of BRAC’s life skills education training and livelihoods training in Kabul and Parwan provinces in Afghanistan. BRAC implemented the training as part of its Girls’ Education Project (GEP) between 2007 and 2011, with financial support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The project established adolescent reading centres (ARCs) for females aged 15-20 years and who had primary-level education but could not continue with their education. ARCs sought to provide adolescent girls with a safe space to socialise and remain engaged in the learning process even after they had stopped attending school. The ARC programme ran in Kabul communities from March to June 2011 and in Parwan from June to August 2011.

ARC participants had the opportunity to receive two types of training, on life skills and on livelihoods. The life skills education training was a five-day course discussing general and reproductive health and children’s and women’s rights. The livelihoods training was taught for three months and offered skills intended to allow the participants to undertake income-generating activities and become economically reliant.

The research set out to establish the extent to which provision of life skills education training and livelihoods training to young women enabled them to engage in the labour market and earn an income. It also examined whether the intervention generated other effects, more specifically if it promoted empowerment as well as affecting social relations and interaction with authorities. The objective was to assess not only the effects of BRAC’s intervention but also its effectiveness in promoting ‘transformative’ outcomes. Guided by the social exclusion framework, the research hoped to understand whether the livelihoods training in particular was able to challenge the societal structures and processes that limited women’s access to the labour market.

Chona Echavez, Babken Babajanian, Jessica Hagen-Zanker, Shaheen Akter, Jennefer Lyn Bagaporo