UNODC Celebrates the International Women’s Day

On the eve of International Women’s Day March 8, UNODC supported the International Women’s Week, Products, Job and Education Fair organized by SIAM Events and Business Development Center. The fair took place during 5th to 8th  March 2020 and aimed to showcase women’s achievements, promote and link markets to their businesses, award successful women in the areas of business, education, women right, peace, media, sport and culture, facilitate the education and career opportunities, as well as promote gender equality.

The UNODC Alternative Development Program contributed to the event with purpose of increasing women employment and entrepreneurship, development of licit products and public awareness on countering narcotics.

UNODC facilitated the participation of 24 women SMEs from different provinces, such as Kabul, Nangarhar, Wardak, and Panjshir. SMEs showcased handcrafts, jewelry, dairy products, hand-made organic soaps, and saffron. Totally, 120 SMEs from 26 provinces of Afghanistan participated in the event. More than 40,000 people visited the fair over four days, including government officials, private sector leading companies, NGOs, donor organizations, civil society activists and professors from universities. The event resulted in a sale of 15 million AFN (200,000 USD), with almost 150,000 AFN (2000 USD) made by the UNODC SMEs.

Entrepreneurs were also provided with Business to Business (B2B), Business to Government (B2G), Business to Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Students (B2S), tai-up and agreement opportunities. As a result, more than 171 contracts between businesses and customers, and businesses to businesses, were signed. For example, one of the UNODC SMEs, Peshraft Zanan, signed a contract for production of organic soaps.

UNODC also launched a campaign with the motto “UNODC supports entrepreneurs who contribute to an opium-free Afghanistan”, intended to bring onboard more women entrepreneurs in the fight against drugs, through employment of recovering drug-addicts, ex-addict, investing into licit crop cultivation among other actions. As part of the counter narcotic messaging, UNODC displayed banners encouraging companies to contribute to a poppy free Afghanistan. Until now, one company reached out to UNODC and requested UNODC’s support in exporting dried fruits, nuts, and saffron to India, Indonesia, UAE and Uzbekistan.

Overall, the event provided SMEs with the opportunity to understand the market demands and connect entrepreneurs and sellers of the different scale with each other.