LONDON: Women in Afghanistan are facing the most catastrophic social and economic challenges of modern times. Their role in society has been severely compromised due to policies implemented by the new ruling authority in the country, resulting in severe economic consequences for the country and its people.

Trade and creativity can play a pivotal role under these circumstances in Afghanistan, where women face immense poverty, isolation and abuse. Harnessing the power of economic engagement through trade can be transformative for women in Afghanistan and the country as a whole. The Buy From Afghanistan program is a prime example of how trade can change the lives of women in a culturally, politically and socially sensitive manner. We share with you the lessons we have learnt from our trade program and how trade can empower women in Afghanistan in the following five different ways:

1. Empowering women artisans and entrepreneurs through trade in countries like Afghanistan is not just about economics; it is about building a more inclusive and prosperous future for all. By investing in their success, we invest in the transformation of entire communities. Trade creates opportunities for women to engage in income-generating activities. By participating in trade networks, women gain economic independence, reducing their reliance on traditional gender roles and it allows women to take a leading role in families where most families have lost their male breadwinners to war, drug addiction and mental illnesses.

2. Export-focused initiatives provide women artisans and entrepreneurs with access to global markets. This exposure allows them to sell their unique products, from heritage handicrafts to textiles, beyond local boundaries. Building a robust trade network for women artisans in Afghanistan requires international collaboration. Governments, NGOs, and private businesses can work together to remove trade barriers and create market access. The greater the collaboration, the greater the power to reach more women and more markets. Our Buy From Afghanistan program is doing exactly that. Started in United Kingdom, expanded to Europe and now aiming for United States, with the most important objective of reaching and empowering more than 5 million women of Afghanistan, through a trade not donation approach.

3. Consumers today are increasingly conscious of the human stories behind the products they buy. Highlighting the women artisans and their cultural heritage fosters a deeper connection between buyers and the products they choose. In return, trade equips women entrepreneurs and artisans with essential business skills, including marketing, quality control, and financial management. These skills enhance their competitiveness, confidence and leadership.

4. Women artisans often operate at the grassroots level. Integrating them into value chains—connecting producers, processors, and exporters—creates a sustainable ecosystem. This integration enhances their bargaining power and income. Women-led enterprises often employ other women, creating a network of support and promoting social cohesion. Trade fosters collaboration and a sense of purpose, vital ingredients for post-conflict reconciliation.

5. Trade can be a powerful tool for human rights advocacy. When women control their income, they have greater agency over their lives, reducing vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. Economic empowerment through trade unlocks a domino effect. Financial independence allows women to challenge traditional gender roles, invest in their families’ health and education, and gain a stronger voice within their communities. Women artisans in Afghanistan excel in traditional crafts like carpet weaving, embroidery, jewellery and pottery. By establishing trade networks and export channels, we are ensuring these exquisite goods can reach a global audience, generating income and bringing dignity to women.

To summarise, war may shatter communities, but the human spirit endures. In Afghanistan, where women have borne the brunt of conflict and misogyny, Afghanistan’s heritage artisan skills, entrepreneurial spirit and trade offer a powerful path to rebuilding their lives and society. Trade is not just an economic transactions; it is a pathway to empowerment for Afghan women. By prioritising trade with women artisans and entrepreneurs, we can create a more inclusive, resilient, and prosperous Afghanistan—one where women thrive as active contributors to economic growth and social well-being.

Note: If you are a business or a government body and want to partner up with us to expand the Buy From Afghanistan program, please email: