Women standing at the counter in her grocery shop.

Our work in Afghanistan

Few places on Earth are more difficult for women than Afghanistan. The country ranks 152 out of 155 on the UN Gender Equality Index, a place where only 16 percent of women work outside the home and even fewer, 6 percent, have been to secondary school.

Only one place, Syria, pushes more refugees into Europe. In a recent Asia Foundation survey, 74 percent of respondents who said they would leave Afghanistan cited insecurity as their main reason. Fifty-two percent cited unemployment, a daily fact of life for four in 10 Afghans.

The link between jobs and women’s empowerment is both proven and implicit. So too is the link between unemployment, insecurity and mass emigration. For as long as Afghanistan’s most damaging problems persist, self-employment will be part of the solution. And Hand in Hand will be there to help.

By the numbers

Between insecurity, treacherous geography and strict cultural norms, Afghanistan is our most challenging context – and the one that most needs our intervention
Infographic: Members trained: 14,425 - Our Self-Help Group members save together, train together and start businesses together

Members trained: 37,130

Our Self-Help Group members save together, train together and start businesses together

Infographic: Businesses started: 3,566 - Hand in Hand Afghanistan entrepreneurs prepare food, rear cattle, weave carpets and more

Businesses started: 28,130

Hand in Hand Afghanistan entrepreneurs prepare food, rear cattle, weave carpets and more

Infographic: Jobs created: 5,286 - Jobs equal development. Our entrepreneurs make their own success, breaking the cycle of dependency

Jobs created: 33,295

Jobs equal development. Our entrepreneurs make their own success, breaking the cycle of dependency

Infographic: Lives improved: 26,430 - Every job we help create in Afghanistan benefits an average five family members – young, old and everywhere in between

Lives improved: 207,599

Every business we help create in Afghanistan benefits an average of seven family members – young, old and everywhere in between

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501 Members Trained
557 Business Supported
398 Jobs Created
80 Lives Changed
$

Why Afghanistan

We were invited into the country in 2007 by then-President Hamid Karzai. Since then we’ve learned a great deal about the role of jobs in vulnerable post-conflict states

36% of people live below the national poverty line

Source: World Bank, 2011

36% of people live below the national poverty line

72% of children under the age of 5 suffer from the micro-nutrient deficiency

Source: World Bank, 2012

72% of children under the age of 5 suffer from nutritional deficiencies

93% of rural women are illiterate

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, 2012

93% of rural women are illiterate

85% of women don't work

Source: World Bank, 2012

84% of women don’t work

Expansion map

Hand in Hand Afghanistan has operated in 11 provinces, with plans to expand into two more. We intervene in districts that lack similar programs but benefit from relative security and support from local authorities.

Meet Hand in Hand Afghanistan Country Director Abdul Nasry

Abdul Nasry joined Hand in Hand Afghanistan in 2012 after managing the Afghan government’s National Skills Development Program, where he helped shape government policy on job creation.

Find out more