Creating opportunities for women in Afghanistan

DRC launches a second phase of efforts in Afghanistan to promote self-reliance and community resilience by providing targeted support to women entrepreneurs and addressing key barriers to market access and sales.

DRC Danish Refugee Council are working in Afghanistan, revitalising local markets and helping communities rebuild..

"With financial and technical support, we hope that women tailors, will be able to supply their products to markets in other districts across the country," said a member of the Women Tailors Association in Qala-e-Naw city in western Afghanistan.

Thousands of men and women in Western Afghanistan are about to see their lives improved and benefit from solid gains made by DRC Danish Refugee Council and partners in the past year (2022/23) in Western, Eastern, Central and Southern regions of the country. There, DRC supported a total of 522,098 individuals through integrated multi-sectoral area-based activities across Kabul, Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, Kandahar, Zabul, Nimroz, Herat, Farah, Nangarhar, Kunar, and Paktika provinces.

Building on these achievements and experiences, DRC will work to implement activities for the protection of community-based livelihoods and the local economy in Afghanistan, targeting women-led/managed Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises.

"Our solid experience in the country and commitment to respond in a principled manner is key to operating in Afghanistan. This is what enables us to address chronic and newly emerging vulnerabilities among Afghan communities, including ensuring safe access to critical livelihoods assistance for female entrepreneurs," says Joyce Dalgliesh, DRC Country Director in Afghanistan. 

The project is supported by UNDP through its ABADEI programme with EU funding as part of efforts to help meet basic human needs and services, by revitalising local markets and helping local communities rebuild their own lives and livelihoods.

Women participate in the local economy

DRC will contribute to expanding opportunities for women’s participation in the local economy through the provision of technical and financial support to 20 women's business associations. The aim is to build the capacities of the associations and support their members, improve standards and quality in their operations. Furthermore, the efforts strive to , and create new employment opportunities for women, to contribute to the creation of a supportive ecosystem for female entrepreneurs. 

DRC will also provide short-term employment to 800 socio-economically vulnerable individuals through a Cash for Work project as well as to 80 skilled workers. These efforts will have an immediate impact on the rehabilitation of eight community-level markets and productive facilities, owned or used by women entrepreneurs.

Following a nearly half-century of conflict and political instability, Afghanistan has fallen into an economic recession of disastrous proportions. The situation for Afghan women and girls has been significantly impacted and continues to deteriorate since August 2021. Continued restrictions imposed on women’s participation in the private and public sectors have also exacerbated inequalities and curbed national economic potential. 

Women entrepreneurs are essential in supporting their families and strengthening local value chains, despite facing limitations. They play a significant role in the Western Region, working in industries such as saffron production and processing, carpet weaving, food and dairy processing, and garment production.

Learn more about outcome of the first phase (2022/23) of the ABADEI project: https://pro.drc.ngo/resources/news/more-than-half-a-million-afghans-supported-through-area-based-approach-for-development-emergency-initiative/

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