Tag Archives: tashabos

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.

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Youth Rebuilding the Economy in Afghanistan

Afghan high school students undertaking the Tashabos course. (Photo: CIPE)

In 2004, CIPE partnered with the Afghanistan Ministry of Education to launch a pilot program to help Afghan youth learn more about entrepreneurship and basic business skills, in addition to the core national curricula. Since the program’s inception, approximately 13,000 high school students have successfully completed the three-year Tashabos youth entrepreneurship course – half of them girls and young women. The skills that the students acquire during the Tashabos program better equip them to take leadership positions as entrepreneurs, empowering them to advance democratic and market-oriented reforms in their communities.

Tashabos may sound like just another class, but the students who participate in these courses take the lessons to heart and seek opportunities to start small businesses, thereby making their local communities better places. By helping Tashabos students understand the principles behind small business, CIPE is helping these students make a positive contribution to Afghanistan’s business environment. In addition, many Tashabos students contribute to the success of their family businesses. Youth are too often left out of political and economic policymaking, but with the right skills as business owners, these students are preparing for active roles as decision makers.

The Tashabos classes incorporate business competitions alongside regular courses. In October, CIPE worked with three high schools in Parwan Province to conduct local business proposal writing competitions, where students presented their business ideas using the knowledge and skills acquired during their Tashabos studies. More than 30 students participated, and the winners took part in a final competition at the end of 2011 between the top students from each school in the Tashabos program. CIPE also assisted the schools in organizing exhibitions for the students to display and sell products they have developed.

In December, CIPE supported another proposal writing competition with four schools in Jalalabad, where more than 60 students participated, applying their classroom knowledge to a real world business venture. In 2011 alone, 177 Tashabos students used their knowledge to successfully start their own businesses.

Of the Tashabos graduates, 1,362 have set up their own small business, 204 have revived a family business, and 350 have helped expand an existing family business. In total, the students have created 7,336 jobs in their communities.

This article by CIPE Afghanistan Communications Officer Ahmad Masoud originally appeared in OverseasREPORT No. 51.

Success Stories of Tashabos Students

Teaching young people vital business skills is one of the key elements of Afghanistan’s reconstruction. Since 2005, CIPE has been conducting a popular entrepreneurship course called Tashabos in select high schools around the country. The program, featured on Sky News, today reaches more than 33,000 students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade at 44 schools in Kabul, Bamiyan, Nangahar, and Parwan. CIPE Afghanistan staff interviewed several students who have started their own business after completing the Tashabos course to learn how they have benefited from the program. Here is what they told us:

Aqila Jafari, 10th grade student at Zinab-Kubra High School
“During my migration to Iran I learned handicraft skills as well as producing pickles. When I returned to my country, I enrolled in high school. Fortunately the school was one of the Tashabos target schools and I started to learn about entrepreneurship. This course illuminated the way to start my own small business. The story of Lima and Omid [characters from the Tashabos textbook] encouraged me to use my skills and start my business three months ago. The exhibition days at school were a big support for me to find a market since I am the one supporting my family.”

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Kabul sights you don’t see

A brief video travelog from a trip to Kabul, a place about which I’m often asked…