A group of 75 women recently completed nine-month microfinance apprenticeships in the Afghan provinces of Balkh, Herat and Kabul. Eleven of these have been offered paid positions within the microfinance institutions (MFIs) at which they trained, Afghan Rural Finance Company, the First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan, the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) Afghanistan and Oxus Afghanistan. Three additional MFIs, Mutahid, Exchangerzone and Hand in Hand, have agreed to host women apprentices in the future.
The program was funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the 11-member Afghanistan Microfinance Association. It is designed to deliver “technical and managerial skills” via “training programs the MFIs already give to their new employees.”
The Director of USAID’s Gender Office, Susan DeCamp, said that “an important step towards improving access to finance for women-owned businesses and self-employed women is increasing the number of women in mid and senior level positions in banking and microfinance, including commercial lending.”
The program is part of USAID Promote: Women in the Economy, which supports working women in gaining access to finance, markets, capacity building and increased profits.
Sources and Additional Resources
Afghanistan Microfinance Association
Afghan Rural Finance Company
First Microfinance Bank of Afghanistan
Hand in Hand Afghanistan
Hand in Hand International
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