Using knowledge and skills from UNITAR’s Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Development programme, Tamana Farewar developed a digital marketing initiative targeting women entrepreneurs.
Small and medium enterprises are a lifeline for Afghan women seeking economic independence. But these businesses are threatened by the lockdowns and reduced economic activity brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tamana Farewar, Zone Manager for the Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI), designed an initiative to help women-led businesses adapt to the crisis. She and her colleagues conducted a week-long training on digital marketing for 20 women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan’s Balkh Province, as well as helped develop their businesses’ online presence and product delivery systems.
The Afghan female lead small and medium enterprises impacted negatively with the COVID-19 pandemic by experiencing a breakdown in their operation system thus, we needed to take urgent action to keep them moving forward.” Tamana said. “Therefore, we are trying to help women-led businesses continue their activities in this hard time.
Tamana’s initiative drew on training from the UNITAR Hiroshima Office. She was one of 30 women from Afghanistan and Iraq who participated in UNITAR’s Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Development training programme, held online from January to April 2020.
Made possible with funding from the Swedish International Development Agency, the programme focused on how frontier technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), can be utilized to help achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The need for such training in developing and conflict-affected nations is particularly pressing, as frontier technologies also carry the risk of increasing technological inequalities.
The programme’s multi-sector group of participants also received training on entrepreneurship and women’s leadership, key skills to help women successfully utilize these new technologies.
Tamana’s initiative with the AWCCI has already seen results. The 20 businesses that took part quickly gained new customers, including from other provinces, through their increased digital presence. The boost in revenue meant that employees, many of them women, who had been furloughed due to the pandemic could return to work too.
In her capacity as zone manager looking after women-owned businesses in northern Afghanistan, Tamana developed the project, found a donor, selected the beneficiaries, and oversaw the implementation. She says knowledge of AI and sustainable project design gained through UNITAR’s programme helped as she created the initiative. As the UNITAR programme itself was conducted virtually, Tamana designed the project’s online training with her own experience as an online learner fresh in mind.
Although she has since left the AWCCI, it will continue to benefit from the know-how she imparted following UNITAR’s training. And the digital marketing initiative she designed will have a long-term impact on women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan.
The project assists my former organization to deliver a fundamental service to its members and beneficiaries during the lockdown,” Tamana said. “The UNITAR programme boosted my knowledge and expertise to perform better in my workplace, academic life, personal life, and goal-setting.
We’re excited to see what Tamana does next!