Afghan Businesswoman Finds a Market for Space

Parwana presenting her project plan to team members.
Parwana Ahmady presents her project plan to team members.
At 19, learning to compete while adding strength to the vendor industry
“I had a rough idea of becoming an entrepreneur, but I did not know how or where to start.”

February 2018—“In every culture, there is always rivalry among sellers trying to increase their profits and sales volume. In fact, competition and rivalry is found in all aspects of our lives. To be better versions of ourselves we must compete daily—even with ourselves,” said Parwana Ahmady, 19, who was awarded second place for her project in a business competition held by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Last year, Parwana Ahmady participated in classes implemented under USAID’s Promote Women’s Leadership Development program, where she designed and planned a project called “Making a Market.” The USAID program helps young women develop the skills to become future leaders in Afghanistan’s private and public sectors. The Royesh (seedling) component of the program is geared toward women aged 15-24.

“I had a rough idea of becoming an entrepreneur, but I did not know how or where to start,” said Ahmady. “The Royesh program provided me the skills I needed as an entrepreneur. It helped me design my first project. The Royesh program made me realize how to be a better version of myself and what skills I need to be an entrepreneur. It made me a confident person who can step into a competitive market and taught me how a business functions in a country like Afghanistan.”

Ahmady designed the dynamic proposal of providing space management to small roadside businesses and vendors in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul while she was participating in the Royesh program.

“I started my business with very limited resources and received financial support from my family. I rented a place where I built small huts for small-scale vendors that sell fresh vegetables, dry fruits, fresh fruits and other goods on roadsides,” said Ahmady.

She is currently providing small vendors a space in the market that includes utilities and hygienic facilities. Her business not only adds dignity and strengthens the global movement of street and market vendors, but also provides Ahmady with a sustainable income.

The Promote Women’s Leadership Development program runs from 2014 to 2019. More than 5,600 students have graduated to date from its Royesh component. The program also has a Jawana (sapling) component for women aged 18-30.

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Last updated: March 06, 2018

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