Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched the Alliance for Afghan Women’s Economic Resilience (AWER) on September 20 on the margins of the UN General Assembly.  AWER is a new public-private partnership between the Department of State and Boston University that aims to catalyze business, philanthropic, and civil society commitments to advance Afghan women’s entrepreneurship, employment, and educational opportunities in Afghanistan and third countries.

In his remarks, Secretary Blinken highlighted AWER’s first initiative, the Million Women Mentors Initiative for Afghan Women and Girls (MWMA), which aims to accelerate private sector and civil society commitments to mentor one million women and girls over the next five years.  He noted Deloitte’s commitment to work with the Alliance’s first member Pod in mentoring 2,000 Afghan women under MWMA as an example of how AWER aims to foster economic opportunity for Afghan women and girls.

This announcement follows $1.5 million in additional Department of State funding for this effort, including funds from the Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund that supports the economic security of women and girls globally, to advance Afghan women’s access to business incubation and partnership with the private sector.

The launch event convened leaders from the private sector, civil society, the U.S. and foreign governments, and Afghan women entrepreneurs and business leaders.  It featured a panel discussion on public-private opportunities to advance Afghan women’s economic security. Panelists included: Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah Zeid, Maternal and Child Health Advocate, Fereshteh Forough, CEO, Code to Inspire; Ayesha Hashem, Public Policy Manager, South Asia, Meta; Manizha Wafeq, Co-Founder, Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Nell Todd, Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP.  Other event speakers included Katrina Fotovat, Senior Official in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, Rina Amiri, Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights, and Thomas West, Special Representative for Afghanistan.

AWER creates a pathway to generate sustainable, market-driven solutions to Afghan women’s economic security and underscores the United States’ deep commitment to Afghan women and girls.
 For more information about AWER and for how to get involved please contact Radhika Prabhu, For media inquiries, please contact and

U.S. Department of State

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