By Nell Pates
The EU-BOMNAF Project is committed to delivering relevant and practical training that is gender inclusive, which is not always an easy sell in Afghanistan.
I was given the opportunity to speak to two women who attended the EU-BOMNAF Female Border Management Awareness course in Dushanbe between the 15th and 27th of October 2015, Nagiya and Khairunisso. Although they do not work together, they both work for the Afghan Border Police – Nagiya with the Afghan National Army in Eshkashem, and Khairunisso at Kunduz airport. Both women have also attended an EU-BOMNAF First Aid course, and they are currently in the first week of an ICT training course. I was keen to find out what their experiences of training were and where they felt improvements could be made.
An overwhelming positive that came out of my interviews with both Nagiya and Khairunisso was the increased confidence that they took from learning new skills. Although the Female Border Management Awareness course was weeks ago, both women were able to reel off the topics they had covered with ease and enthusiasm.
In particular, they took great pride in their new-found confidence in first aid. Nagiya told me that before her training, she would have had no idea what to do with an injury or illness, but now she knows that she could administer first aid at work, or at home with her family and neighbours because she knows where to start.
Astonishingly, Khairunisso was able to save a child’s life in the weeks following the EU-BOMNAF course, when a child swallowed and choked on a button and she was able to clear the obstruction using skills learned in first aid.
When asked what else is needed in training for women, both Nagiya and Khairunisso had the same answer for me: they want more. The desire to learn here is incredibly strong, and every request they had was for longer, or more advanced courses so that they can gain more skills.
EU-BOMNAF will be running more training courses for women throughout 2016, and plans to run integrated courses wherever possible in the future.