Vic Getz Founder, Afghan Gender Cafe

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Joined: 30 Jul 2006
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:06 pm    Post subject: Vic Getz Founder, Afghan Gender Cafe Reply with quote

Greetings, I'm excited to be introducing myself on this website. I'm not based in Afghanistan fulltime but have been there three times with plans to return soon. I've been involved in several projects, primarily rural "alternative livelihood" projects. I've got a PhD in environmental sociology from Washington State University in the US. My interests, both personal and academic, have always centered on women's empowerment, equality and equity. (The process involves both men and women!)

Last year I floated the idea of organizing an informal rountable discussion about gender issues in Afghanistan when I was next in Kabul. I knew it was a very broad and fuzzy topic but, I figured I'd send out the query to the people I knew who shared my interest and see what happened. Fast forward to June 2006 - The conversation finally took place in Kabul with more than 80 people attending. I thought maybe 10 or 15 people would want to sit together so I was really overwhelmed and happy to have it evolve into such a large gathering. From what I heard from participants, it was an unusual gathering, too. There aren't that many opportunities for people to meet, talk, share information, lessons, difficulties and challenges.

When I was organizing the roundtable, I got input from a lot of people, both internationals and Afghans who had many points of view. I took the ideas shared with me and developed some basic categories that people suggested they would like to discuss. These are the categories in the Forum Index where conversations can continue.

This is an independent inititative that I'd like to see evolve into a dynamic place for people to meet, talk, network, collaborate and share resources. The need for this was made clear by participants at the roundtable.

I really love to bring people together and am excited about the possibility that this website presents. I hope that you'll take part in making it a vital place for all of us who want to do good work. If you have any questions, comments, complaints, compliments, ideas, etc., please contact me at Send information, resources, reports, stories, successes, lessons learned, etc. and I will be happy to post them at the Cafe.

There is a story I heard about an Afghan woman who owns a factory. She was asked what a woman was doing, owning a factory full of machines and sawdust and male employees, and she got straight in the face (in the very best way) of the person asking, replying that "It's high time women tried a few grand things. Women can do more than sitting at home sewing, don't you know?" Asked if she felt that it was possible for her to join an all-male trade association, she said of course - business is about breaking barriers, not respecting them. Asked if she might share some of her confidence with women entrepreneurs who find things a little more intimidating, she said, "Love to!"

Come to the Cafe - A place to share.

"Try a few grand things."

Best regards, Vic
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