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ITL Silk and Saffron Project

We have just started a project focused on unlocking the potential for women to engage more meaningfully in the silk and saffron value chain in Afghanistan. After the Taliban seized political control in 2021 the country’s economy collapsed, and women and girls’ rights have been systematically dismantled. Through this project we want to find practical ways of enabling women to secure a livelihood, in the face of growing restrictions.

The ITL Silk and Saffron project focuses on empowering more than 4,000 rural women to start independent silk production, and to begin saffron production, one of the few economic activities deemed culturally acceptable for women. It will support women to come together to process, market and sell their products, enabling them to earn a sustainable income from climate resilient crops that can be processed in the household. At a time when many Afghan women feel isolated, we are believe this project will create lasting economic, social and psychological benefits for the participants.  

Afghanistan Programme Manager, Yaqoob Rauf, shares his reflections at the project outset -

The project is already generating significant interest from UN Women and other agencies operating in Afghanistan, who are looking at opportunities to move beyond the exclusive focus on humanitarian aid, to meet the long-term needs of women in Afghanistan, despite the wider challenges. This gives a sense of the potential to scale up the learning from this project, and leverage additional funds off the back of the project, if successful. 

For more information, the project factsheet can be found here -  

ITL Silk and Saffron Project

Find out about our Silk and Saffron project in Afghanistan