How RET Germany’s Job Counseling Program in Afghanistan reinforces the success of educational and vocational training components, elevating participants from dependency to self-reliance.
For years, Afghanistan’s economy has been characterized by an aid-induced, and therefore fragile, stability. Agriculture, whose performance lies at the Centre of the country’s economy, is at the mercy of the climate while any sign of dynamism sprouting in the market – including private sector investment – is threatened by the volatile security situation.
In a country where population growth outpaces the momentum of economic recovery; around half of Afghanistan’s population is below 15; one third of its labor force is unexperienced; the arrival of returnees has a drastic impact on their overall economic situation. Regardless of where precisely they began their exodus, Afghan returnees have come home after having gone through severe ordeals. Their difficulties have rarely been eased by education or job opportunities. 2016 alone saw nearly a million Afghans returning home. However, illiteracy, a lack of skills and an absence of opportunity turn what could be an asset (a fresh and ready workforce) into a problem. Very few returnees can be expected to weather this transition with the tools and resources at their disposal. Programs address this gap need to be inclusive as with all other RET programs across the world.
Sowing the seeds for a brighter future
Since 2012, RET Germany has been implementing projects aimed at stabilizing communities in areas of high migrant return in Bagram, Kabul & Kunduz provinces to prevent economic migration by providing short-term solutions to empower youth and adult returnees, while facilitating the social reintegration of young returnees and reduce socio-cultural inequalities between young people and young adults affected by the crisis.
2019, marks a milestone with the job counseling programs offered by RET in Bagram, Kabul & Kunduz provinces. RET Germany’s Job Counselling programs rest on the premise that soft skills and a strategic perspective are as necessary as consolidating any vocational capacity. Therefore, this multi-part program aims to raise the employability profiles of Afghanistan’s human capital via a deeply customized and individualized approach – instead of blanket schemes. When sketching a road map, RET Germany consultants take into account not only the participants’ skills and capacity but also key concept such as available career opportunities, societal barriers, demands, and cross-sectoral mobility.
Financial literacy, entrepreneurship and management trainings cater to the needs of the entrepreneurially-minded who have the stamina, experience and determination to launch their own business. Participants who want to study for university entrance exams register on RET’s Kankor (university entrance preparation) courses. For those who would like to work as employees and have a specific profession/career path in mind, there are courses on composing Curriculum Vitae, Resumes and Cover Letters. Professional courses also help provide a window into the global, professional culture Afghanistan will need to catch up with sooner rather than later.
The program urges the development of multiple skills as well as a wider perspective to ensure candidates’ mobility across industries in an endeavor to respond to problems of intra-sectoral mobility among job seekers and employees. Meanwhile, any discovery of artistic, social or linguistic talent is mentored – signifying the wider perspective adopted by the program, far beyond adherence to any “templates”.
In addition, trainings in entrepreneurial skills and facilitating access to micro-finance as a means to improve self-employment and create socio-economic reintegration were offered.
In conclusion, regular work is a reliable path in creating lasting peace, and individual orientation is the key to guiding participants to the right jobs, the right business environments, and the right tools to realize their potential. Aware of its responsibilities to the Afghan society, RET Germany is proud to be part in building the self-reliance of community members and to contribute to the creation of a self-sustaining economy for the future of Afghanistan.
The stories of the participants of this particular program bears witness to this fact.
RET Germany would like to thank the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany for their endless support in Afghanistan.