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Can a small bakery in Afghanistan bring peace?

Fostering women-owned enterprises may be a key to economic stability.

by Carol Elliott

October 29, 2009

Business Chart


In a village set in one of the poorest provinces of Afghanistan, a group of women started a bakery.  Headed by a woman who once lost a 5-year-old son to malnutrition, the business reached its three-month production goal in the first week.  Now, they are looking to add an oven, and to improve their reading skills and understanding of accounting and marketing.  The bakery is one of the microenterprises supported by Catholic Relief Services, which Dean Carolyn Y. Woo visited as she traveled through Afghanistan and Pakistan during the summer 2009.  Amid very grim landscapes, she saw glimmers of hope. 

Recent studies show that nearly all the earnings of women in developing countries are contributed to family support, compared to 50-68 percent for men.  Fostering women-owned enterprises may be a key to economic stability and peace.

Read more about Dean Woo’s initiatives at Dean Woo Initiatives