Our work in Afghanistan

Poverty, insecurity, displacement and discrimination. Since arriving in Afghanistan in 2007, Hand in Hand has helped thousands of vulnerable women overcome all four.

Read on to learn about our programmes, meet our members, and discover how you can help women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan transform life one of the most restrictive countries on Earth – business by business, family by family, and community by community.

Members trained: 46,702

85% of our members in Afghanistan are women. Historically, that figure is 70%.

Businesses started: 39,819

Hand in Hand Afghanistan entrepreneurs run poultry farms, cultivate honey, weave carpets and more

Jobs created: 44,170

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

Lives improved: 297,333

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

Featured projects

The situation for women

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

Restricted from working in whole sectors and, in many cases, leaving the home without male supervision, women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan face challenges few of us can imagine. With your support and our training, they’re subverting expectations and beating the odds every single day.

70% of young Afghan women (aged 15-24) are not in training, education or employment

20% of rural Afghan women are married by age 19

93% of rural women are illiterate

School attendance among girls has fallen since 2012

Meet our entrepreneurs

Your donation at work

Drag the scrollbar to see how you can make an impact in Afghanistan

449 Members Trained
449 Business Supported
449 Jobs Created
64 Lives Changed

High return, low cost

Return on investment

Hand in Hand recently undertook a major audit of our programme in Afghanistan establish our return on investment (ROI): the amount our members earn per year for every dollar donated. The review was conducted across two of our biggest completed projects to date, one funded in-house, the other by the European Union.

Between them, total project expenditure was US S2.14 million. And the total annual income generated by our members’ enterprises in the first year alone? US $3.12 million, for an ROI of 46 percent.

To put those figures in context, consider that the S&P 500 has generated annualised returns of 9.7 percent, including dividends, since 1965. Or, to pick a more ambitious comparison, that Berkshire Hathaway’s average annual stock price gain under Warren Buffet, the world’s most successful investor, is circa 20 percent.

Low cost

Hand in Hand spends significantly less than comparable programmes on training each member in Afghanistan. That’s according to new research from our colleagues in the country, who polled staff and managers from six major government or NGO livelihoods projects.

Across all six programmes, the price per member trained ranged from US $361 to US $2,000, for an average of US $957. Hand in Hand spends less than one-third of that: just US $298.

But low costs have not meant sacrificing high returns (see next tab).


Independent evaluations

Hand in Hand strives to be as transparent as possible. Download our latest independent evaluations from Afghanistan below.

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