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Bpeace Blog Briefs

Stories of bravery, transformation and impact.

Afghanistan

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The major mission of this mission: the opening of our Fast Runners' new co-operative store. It is called Rangeen Kaman Artisans, or Rainbow Artisans, and it's the first store of its kind in Kabul. The just-as-exciting other foci of the trip: Nargis will be offering yoga classes at her gym and we are helping her learn how to do it; and delivering the next round of material for their training centers.

RKA Notes from Steve . . .
Najib and I returned to the paint store first thing, hoping to exchange 4 gallons of "blush white" paint for "flat white" paint. This was the 4th trip back to the store to either purchase or exchange paint, as we were having great difficulty matching the Pantone shade 11-0907 that had been selected. I believe that we had been to just about every paint store in west Kabul.

[caption id="attachment_295" align="alignnone" width="369" caption="Suria looks happy, but that shade is not here to stay"]Suria looks happy, but that shade is not here to stay[/caption]

The shop owner laughed when he saw us enter, paint cans in hand. Najib began to explain the need for the exchange. I told Najib to merely explain that the women had again changed their minds. This sent the shop owner into gales of laughter, speaking in rapid fire Dari that Najib quickly translated as "Yes, they are powerful". We all agreed, shaking our heads and laughing in our shared experience!

Afghan Women’s Business Federation
Athena spent the day with 21 AWBF trainers taking them through the Bpeace Marketing Map, a tool for entrepreneurs to map out a marketing communications strategy. The participants loved the topic -- they were practically jumping out of their seats to volunteer answers and offer their ideas about how to market products and services in Afghanistan.

Fourth TOT
The most interesting discussions were about how to apply marketing principles to their students who live in the provinces and are mostly illiterate. It turns out that local radio is a great promotional opportunity because most people have radios and there are special shows for women. And, depending on your product or service, sometimes you can announce things over the loudspeakers of mosques. Who knew? It was quickly pointed out that a beauty salon could most certainly not take advantage of this opportunity.

Another fascinating cultural moment was when Athena realized that in the provinces it is the men who buy clothing and other accessories for their wives--not the women themselves, who are seldom allowed to leave their houses. So, the men are also target customers who have to be considered. Though one of the men informed us the women tell their men what to buy--usually because they have seen another woman wearing something they liked at a wedding or other social gathering. Aaahhh the nuances of marketing!

Venus Fitness
It’s a slow time of year for Nargis and her Venus fitness studio as clients don’t like the cold weather work-outs. Colder inside most buildings than outside this time of year. Lots of marketing plans for Spring and a possible move to a new location.

In the meantime Zuhra, Venus’ trainer, put us through the paces of The Venus System circuits 1 and 2. Steve and I were satisfied to see that she was well versed in the program. Zuhra is a tough trainer. 15 to 20 reps are a must. The group had fun as  Steve and I walked everyone through the 3rd phase. Steve was very happy as they allowed him to participate in the training.

Steve then guided the ladies through some beginner yoga training. He started with warm ups and quickly transitioned to standing poses (as the group was pretty limber from all the Venus System activity!). The ladies tried mountain pose, standing forward bend, warrior 2, side angle pose and triangle pose. The session had its challenges as Steve had Nargis translate while Kate helped the ladies make adjustments (Steve could not touch the women of course!) while Kate took a logistics related mobile call from Athena while in mountain pose. All in a day's work.

--Kate Buggeln on behalf of the Bpeace Team, December 2006

Piqued your interest? Read the entire December 2008 Afghan Mission blog here.

13 Sign is up
The major mission of this mission: the opening of our Fast Runners' new co-operative store. It is called Rangeen Kaman Artisans, or Rainbow Artisans, and it's the first store of its kind in Kabul. The just-as-exciting other foci of the trip: Nargis will be offering yoga classes at her gym and we are helping her learn how to do it; and delivering the next round of material for their training centers.

RKA Notes from Steve . . .
Najib and I returned to the paint store first thing, hoping to exchange 4 gallons of "blush white" paint for "flat white" paint. This was the 4th trip back to the store to either purchase or exchange paint, as we were having great difficulty matching the Pantone shade 11-0907 that had been selected. I believe that we had been to just about every paint store in west Kabul.

[caption id="attachment_295" align="alignnone" width="369" caption="Suria looks happy, but that shade is not here to stay"]Suria looks happy, but that shade is not here to stay[/caption]

The shop owner laughed when he saw us enter, paint cans in hand. Najib began to explain the need for the exchange. I told Najib to merely explain that the women had again changed their minds. This sent the shop owner into gales of laughter, speaking in rapid fire Dari that Najib quickly translated as "Yes, they are powerful". We all agreed, shaking our heads and laughing in our shared experience!

Afghan Women’s Business Federation
Athena spent the day with 21 AWBF trainers taking them through the Bpeace Marketing Map, a tool for entrepreneurs to map out a marketing communications strategy. The participants loved the topic -- they were practically jumping out of their seats to volunteer answers and offer their ideas about how to market products and services in Afghanistan.

Fourth TOT
The most interesting discussions were about how to apply marketing principles to their students who live in the provinces and are mostly illiterate. It turns out that local radio is a great promotional opportunity because most people have radios and there are special shows for women. And, depending on your product or service, sometimes you can announce things over the loudspeakers of mosques. Who knew? It was quickly pointed out that a beauty salon could most certainly not take advantage of this opportunity.

Another fascinating cultural moment was when Athena realized that in the provinces it is the men who buy clothing and other accessories for their wives--not the women themselves, who are seldom allowed to leave their houses. So, the men are also target customers who have to be considered. Though one of the men informed us the women tell their men what to buy--usually because they have seen another woman wearing something they liked at a wedding or other social gathering. Aaahhh the nuances of marketing!

Venus Fitness
It’s a slow time of year for Nargis and her Venus fitness studio as clients don’t like the cold weather work-outs. Colder inside most buildings than outside this time of year. Lots of marketing plans for Spring and a possible move to a new location.

In the meantime Zuhra, Venus’ trainer, put us through the paces of The Venus System circuits 1 and 2. Steve and I were satisfied to see that she was well versed in the program. Zuhra is a tough trainer. 15 to 20 reps are a must. The group had fun as  Steve and I walked everyone through the 3rd phase. Steve was very happy as they allowed him to participate in the training.

Steve then guided the ladies through some beginner yoga training. He started with warm ups and quickly transitioned to standing poses (as the group was pretty limber from all the Venus System activity!). The ladies tried mountain pose, standing forward bend, warrior 2, side angle pose and triangle pose. The session had its challenges as Steve had Nargis translate while Kate helped the ladies make adjustments (Steve could not touch the women of course!) while Kate took a logistics related mobile call from Athena while in mountain pose. All in a day's work.

--Kate Buggeln on behalf of the Bpeace Team, December 2006

Piqued your interest? Read the entire December 2008 Afghan Mission blog here.

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