Business Council for Peace (Bpeace), a partner of UNIFEM — the United Nations Development Fund for Women — offers Afghan women entrepreneurs business consulting, training, mentoring, and networking opportunities as well as access to capital and international markets for their goods and services.
Bpeace’s focus is delivering long-term practical business training and guidance not otherwise accessible to Afghan entrepreneurs, helping each woman to develop and her expand her business so that she can create additional employment and hope and peace for her community.
Provided a grant to refurbish equipment when snow collapsed the tent under which Fatima’s female workers manufacture furniture in Afghanistan. Fatima was able to purchase and replace her equipment, keep her business running, and retain her employees. At Fatima’s last reporting in 2013, she employed 55 workers including 43 women.
At the time of their latest reporting in 2013, two of the businesswomen employed a total of 735 women (an increase from 440). More than 80% of the world’s soccer balls are stitched by hand — mostly in Pakistan — but it is a growing industry in Afghanistan. Manufacturing balls and other leather-made goods is an excellent income-generating opportunity for widows since it allows them to work at home while learning a marketable skill. The money these poor women earn is sometimes the only household income. The soccer balls are now being made available in the US under the Dosti brand name.
Provided funding for two Fast Runners, Nasim and Shukria, who employ and support Afghan widows, to travel to the US and participate in the Bpeace Apprentice Road Trip (BART), partially funded by the US Department of State. During their visit to the US, Nasim and Shukria visited businesses in their industry and learned best practices that they took back to their institutions.
Nasim is the owner of a preserves and juice production company and spent her apprenticeships learning about new products and packaging and production techniques at Brooklyn Brine, DelGrosso Foods, Freedom Foods, LLC, Pause for Thought, and Stonewall Kitchen. Today Nasim employs 25 Afghans in her business with approximately 380 women working in 25 food-processing centers throughout Herat Province At the time Shukria worked at the family crisis center of Women for Afghan Women (WAW) in Kabul. During her apprenticeships, Shukria visited shelters for victims of domestic abuse, legal clinics and counseling centers and learned how each of these programs are managed within larger nonprofits. Shukria apprenticed at the District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), Safe Horizon, and Sanctuary for Families. In Afghanistan, WAW operates legal aid centers and emergency and long-term shelters for women and children in 13 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.