Households reduce “leaking” expenses
Households that have been identified as “poor” and “very poor” through a Well-Being Analysis participate in the Leaking Pot exercise. This visual balance sheet through the image of a pot (representing a livelihood pot) allows households to understand why the pot is always empty because of “leaking” expenses.
The financial inputs and leaks are then analyzed to define their main sources of income as well as expenditures related to key life events (e.g., weddings, funerals). The analysis requires participants to outline the expenditures that create particular hardships for the future and consider how to stop the leaks so that the pot will not be empty.
In Afghan communities, weddings, funerals, and other traditions require a large percentage of the family’s income. One of the successful outcomes of the Leaking Pot exercise was reducing these expenses. This was one of the actions taken by households in Keenjabuy village in the Khulm district of Balkh province to curb excessive expenditures.
As with most rural villages, poor households in Keenjabuy village struggle with finances.
Nonetheless, the exercise sparked a community debate and helped many, like day laborer Merabuddin who recently married, realize that far too much money was being spent on traditional ceremonies, like weddings. Merabuddin’s family spent 120,000 afghanis ($1,560) on his wedding.
The Leaking Pot exercise provides equal opportunities to men and women in rural areas of Afghanistan to discuss the negative impacts of costly traditions on their lives and agree on methods to reduce these costs. Photo credit: World Bank
Consequently, the Leaking Pot exercise enabled the community, through its CDC, to sign an agreement that includes reducing the number of wedding guests, from 600 to 300 for each event.
Through these efforts, village elders representing communities throughout entire valleys have come together to collectively lower ceremonial expenses to support their community’s efforts to promote financial responsibility. For example, following the Leaking Pot exercise, the Miranshah village in Anaba district in Panshir province came together to develop a 26-article agreement to reduce expenditures for ceremonies, such as engagements, weddings, funerals, the new year, among others. CDC leaders and village elders also agreed to establish a literacy course for women and founded a grain bank to support the most vulnerable households in their community.