Joining the mission to economically empower 5 million Afghan women

LONDON: The economic and social situation for Afghan women has become increasingly dire since the collapse of the democratic government in August 2021. Decades of progress made towards women’s rights and empowerment have since been rolled back with devastating consequences for women of Afghanistan. Severe restrictions on women’s movement have severely limited women’s ability to participate in the national economy and society. They are barred from attending schools, universities and work, effectively, roughly 20 million women, half the population of Afghanistan is shut out of social and economic opportunities, crippling the already fragile Afghan economy as well as the society.

With limited access to employment, resources and opportunities, they face increased hunger, abuse and struggle to meet basic needs for themselves and their families. A recent UN report highlights a dramatic drop in female participation in the workforce from 25% to a mere 6% this year. With nearly 70% of Afghans unable to meet basic needs according to the UN’s Subsistence-Insecurity Index, women are often the most vulnerable.

Faced with such harsh reality of the violation of human dignity, we are joining the British Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry to bring public and private sector stakeholders together to take immediate action to address the deteriorating situation and help economically empower 5 million women in Afghanistan through trade and entrepreneurship. 

It is the most just moral imperative of modern times and here is why:

  1. Uplifting 5 million women in Afghanistan through trade

Afghan women face significant challenges in accessing economic opportunities. However, we know through experience of the country that a hidden engine of economic empowerment exists – the millennia old craftsmanship heritage of Afghan women, the mountains full of precious stones and the agricultural industry where women have been the backbone of the backbone across the country in every village. 

Women across Afghanistan are growing crops, producing goods and making incredible handmade items like the prized and rare rugs of Afghanistan, the high quality saffron, amazing jewellery, incredible embroidery, ancient pottery, fabulous soaps, perfumes, candles, footwear, clothes and countless other products in their homes. By facilitating the international trade of these beautiful, hand-crafted goods, millions of Afghan women and girls can be directly and indirectly impacted through our Buy From Afghanistan initiative, creating a ripple effect that strengthens families, communities, and the entire Afghan economy. 

  1. Creating change by mobilising and deploying over $100 million in capital by 2030 to buy from women of Afghanistan

Engaging in trade with Afghan women has the potential to directly and indirectly impact the lives of approximately 5 million women and girls. This impact has several positive outcomes that can be achieved. 

  • Income generation: Sales to international consumers translate into income earnings for women artisans and agricultural producers. This financial independence empowers them to make crucial decisions regarding their families’ well-being.
  • Job Creation: A stable export market creates a demand for more artisans, leading to job creation within the handicraft industry, remote farming communities and for educated women in fields such as marketing, accounting, legal and education. This can provide a vital source of income for not just the producers but also for those involved in the supply chain.
  • Skill Development: Increased demand encourages artisans to hone their skills and experiment with new designs, fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Education: With increased income, families are more likely to invest in their daughters’ education, breaking the cycle of poverty and creating a more skilled workforce for the future.

There are around 5 million Afghan women involved in some aspect of the handicraft industry alone, either as producers, retailers, or involved in the supply chain. All we need is to reach these women and buy more from them. A trade first approach to empower them sustainably for eternity not a donation based for a day. 

We know it is possible because we have done it. We have the people, the resources, the strategic presence in the international markets and have built the infrastructure over the past 15 years. 

Our plan is to work in partnership with public and private sector stakeholders across America, Europe and Asia, and work on a much larger scale to reach far more women and far more rapidly than before, saving lives and creating change. 

We aim to mobilise and deploy over $100 million dollars by 2030 purely to buy products and services provided by women of Afghanistan. We believe that we can create jobs for 3.5 million women directly in their homes, villages and communities and economically impact the lives of another 1.5 million or more women in the country, ultimately economically empowering about 25% of the women population of Afghanistan in the next 6 years. 

Trade, particularly when focused on goods and services manufactured by women, can be a powerful tool for economic revival. By prioritising trade with women artisans, experts and entrepreneurs, we can create a more inclusive and resilient Afghanistan, and at the same time fulfil our moral and humanitarian responsibility to them.

Note: If you are a business, a government body or a philanthropic foundation, and want to partner up with us to expand the Buy From Afghanistan program, please email: