Alberto Zavatta - Article / Empowering Afghan Women (and not only): Lessons from Direct Experience

Empowering Afghan Women (and not only): Lessons from Direct Experience

In the rugged terrain of Afghanistan, where instability and uncertainty loom large, the journey towards women’s empowerment and human rights is both challenging and essential. Drawing from my direct involvement in three projects — WIE (Women in the Economy) run by DAI for USAID, GOLDOZI managed by FHI 360 for USAID, and Ziba Foods supported by International Trade Centre of the United Nations Office at Geneva — focused on empowering women through entrepreneurship and leveraging local craftsmanship and productions, a nuanced understanding of the current landscape emerges.


These initiatives were crafted with a keen eye towards bolstering women’s economic role and harnessing the potential of local industries, particularly embroidery, textiles, dried fruits, and saffron production, which serve as lifelines for many communities. Research underscores the pivotal role of women in efficiently managing household finances, often outperforming their male counterparts in this realm.


However, amidst recent upheavals, much of the progress achieved risks being eroded. Yet, in the middle of uncertainty, the question of the future trajectoryremains pertinent.


What strategies can be adopted to strengthen the precarious position of Afghan women? How can we ensure effectiveness in our endeavors beyond the Afghan case?


This issue necessitates multifaceted approaches. Humanitarian assistance remains indispensable, providing immediate relief and support to vulnerable populations. However, sustainable development initiatives tailored to women’s needs offer a pathway towards long-term empowerment. Investing in education, vocational training, and access to financial resources equips women with the tools to navigate economic challenges and assert their rights within their communities.


Furthermore, leveraging international partnerships and alliances is imperative. Collaborative efforts between governments, NGOs, private sector, and grassroots organizations amplify impact and foster resilience in adverse contexts. Advocacy on the global stage serves to keep the plight of Afghan women in the spotlight, garnering support and resources vital for their empowerment.


By building upon lessons learned from past experiences and forging innovative solutions, we can pave the way towards a future where women are not only empowered but are also instrumental in shaping their communities’ destinies.



On this topic, check also:

USAID Women in the Economy – Interviews

The Goldozi Project Event