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Research: Women's Empowerment Through Craft in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan

Research: Women's Empowerment Through Craft in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan

9 November 2018

As part of the global Crafting Futures programme, in 2017 the British Council commissioned a research project addressing the role of craft, entrepreneurship and technology in women's empowerment in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The full report can be downloaded here

The aim of this research project was to aid the British Council in the development of a new programme which will support the empowerment of women through the means of craft, technology and entrepreneurship in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The research study was conducted by the consortium composed of Plymouth College of Art, the UK lead organisation, and research partners based in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The following organisations were namely involved: Fair Law Organization for Women (FLOW) from Afghanistan, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) from Bangladesh, and Technology Upgradation and Skill Development Company (TUSDEC) from Pakistan.


The objectives of this study were:

  • to provide a contextual overview of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan’s craft and entrepreneurship landscape, specifically in relation to female communities;
  • to contribute to a greater understanding of the current skills gaps and labour shortages affecting the crafts sector in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, including differences or similarities across the three countries;
  • to identify key players currently addressing the identified skills gaps and labour shortages, issues with market demand for their products, and potential partners or possible co-investors for future programme development;
  • to assess the role of technologies, specifically mobile and digital technology, in the work of the key players;
  • to provide recommendations that can subsequently inform the development of new evidenced-based programmes and products.


In pursuit of these objectives, the research initiatives aimed to extract the existing knowledge from globally significant literature and available statistics. In-depth studies covering data collected through questionnaires, focus group discussion and interviews with governmental and non-governmental organisations, and women entrepreneurs, were also carried out by the research partners in their own countries.