Creating Entrepreneurship Opportunities in Afghanistan

Decades of war have had dramatic effects on Afghan society; disrupting the social, political, and economic institutions that hold a nation together. Youth in Afghanistan were especially affected, as educational opportunities vanished and economic prospects were bleak.

However, since the fall of the Taliban, opportunities for youth are increasing. Rapidly expanding educational opportunities and a growing economy have provided youth with new possibilities. But as this New York Times article discusses, these changes challenge the ideas and beliefs of youth, who struggle with reconciling traditional, tribal, Islamic, Western, and modern values.

If youth are to embrace Afghanistan’s democratic government, the government must ensure that youth have the knowledge and skills to participate in a democratic society and the economic opportunities to support themselves. To help ensure Afghan youth have the skills to succeed in the economy, CIPE launched a high school business and entrepreneurship course, called Tashabos, in 2005. With the support of the Ministry of Education, Tashabos has been expanded to a three-year curriculum and is now taught to more than 40,000 students in 44 high schools.

The course provides Afghan youth with the knowledge needed to participate in a market economy, become active citizens, assume leadership roles to help them become successful entrepreneurs, and to play a key role in the economic growth, reconstruction efforts and community development in their country.

During my visit to Afghanistan earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet with several current and former Tashabos students. These students have been able to apply the lessons from Tashabos in starting their own businesses. Watch Haseena’s story here.

Tim Wallace is Assistant Program Officer for South Asia at CIPE.

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