Afghanistan is a country mired in strife. Its citizens have endured over 30 years of conflict, suffered severe droughts over the past decade, faced high unemployment and severe poverty: 35 percent of the labor force is unemployed and 36 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line (IRIN, 2009; World Bank, 2010). Women in Afghanistan are gener-ally confined to life within the household. They are not engaged in public institutions; they have poor or no access to health care or education; they lack basic human rights such as mobility, safety and security, and access to economic produc-tion. Yet, studies from around the world indicate that the increased economic participation of women has a profound im-pact on alleviating food insecurity, building assets, and improving stability in the household and community.
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