Back in 2005, Mercy Corps began an effort to reduce malnutrition and food insecurity for families in rural Tajikistan. The Development Assistance Program provided mother and child health counseling and aid to increase agriculture production, processing and marketing. It covered nearly 100 villages in the isolated Rasht valley.
When it ended, families involved in the program reported cleaner and healthier households, a greater understanding of health issues and the availability of more varieties of food.
One unexpected benefit was that women said they felt more freedom to leave the home, communicated and exchanged more information with other female villagers, and enjoyed more influence and respect within their own family.
This field study explores these unanticipated impacts and changes in women's empowerment as a result of the program in hopes of providing a framework for similar programs in other countries.