Breaking ground with bread and a bakery business

Breaking ground with bread and a bakery business
OMID MOHMAND, FIELD REPORTER WESTERN AFGHANISTAN 

Rewriting tradition 

In the province of Badghis, Western Afghanistan, traditional values prevail. It's a challenging context in which female social activities are still discouraged and characterised as strange and inappropriate.

Still, a group of 20 entrepreneurial women started a local business of baking and selling homemade bread.  
 
These women - representing 20 female-headed households - are working together under the umbrella of World Vision Afghanistan Saving Groups and Producer Groups. 

The big idea  

Noticing the success of their Producer Groups in raising chickens and selling eggs, the 20 women formed a savings group to manage their combined income. The group managed to save NZD$435 in a short ten months – that's over six times the average yearly income (NZD$65) of any Afghan woman. With these savings, the group decided to start baking bread as a small business initiative in their community. 

‘We had a lot of business ideas, but we had to consider the amount of our savings and potential for business as well as acceptance of such a venture in the community’, says Sara, a cashier for the Saving Group. 

Through the guidance and consultation of World Vision, the Saving Group members started a bakery business in their home premises as it was more appropriate and socially acceptable to the community of Badghis. This all worked out as the bread could be baked and sold from home and the demand for homemade bread was high. 

Exceeding expectations 

Exceeding expectations A week into starting the business, the Saving Group already needed to hire two additional female assistants to help Donyagul with baking and sales. The business was doing so well and the demand and duties could no longer be met by one person alone. 

Sara laughs as she recalls that time, "We didn’t think that we would receive a lot of orders. We thought Donyagul could manage all the orders on her own!" 

Change is happening right here in Badghis. This women's Saving Group has exceeded all expectations – their own and those of the community. They have shown with a little bit of support and guidance, anything can be possible even in challenging communities.  
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