From fragility to resilience in Afghanistan

A roadmap for those who are seeking to build training and employment programmes and opportunities in a fragile context.

See example stories

About the roadmap

What is the Roadmap?

A guide of key factors and considerations when building sustainable employment and training programmes in fragile states.

Who is it for?

ILO constituents, policy makers, employers’ and workers’ organizations, development practitioners, consultants, donors or service providers working in a fragile context.

What is the aim ?

To build resilience in fragile contexts, through the promotion of decent work, training, and capacity building programmes.

The full roadmap

The roadmap is intended to be a thought- provoking catalyst for those who are seeking to build training and employment programmes and opportunities in a fragile context.
It provides success stories that show the kinds of outcomes that can be achieved, and describes critical elements of our programme in Afghanistan.

The roadmap contains a description of the Project phases and activities, the 6 key pillars of the Project, and success stories from the Coaching and SIYB programs with people in Afghanistan. Get the full booklet to find out more about building employment promotion and training programmes in fragile contexts.

Get the full roadmap

The project

The project “Promoting rural youth employment in Afghanistan through entrepreneurship education and vocational training” is a capacity development project, to strengthen the institutional capacity of ILO constituents, social partners, and other stakeholders in Afghanistan to tackle the youth employment challenge through appropriate policies and programmes, reflecting global good practice in countries affected by fragility.

Phase I: Supporting the capacity of ILO constituents and ILO social partners to design policies and implement concrete projects to support youth employment.

Phase II: Local capacity-building support for policy implementers and service providers. Expected start: May 2018

Capacity development activities implemented in Phase I

One-year training programme, over 8 modules

New Delhi, India
Kabul, Afghanistan

Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) training of trainers

Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan

Coaching programme for youth in fragile settings

New Delhi, India

Webinars on promoting rural youth employment


Training courses organised by ITCILO

Beirut, Lebanon
Freetown, Sierra Leone

Global and regional knowledge sharing events

Freetown, Sierra Leone
New Delhi, India
Praia, Cape Verde

The six elements

The roadmap highlights six elements that were critical to the success of the project in Afghanistan, and which are important considerations for building capacity development programs in fragile contexts.

Connecting capacities from different places

The ITCILO as knowledge facilitator

Getting to know the context

Developing analytical studies and dialogue with ILO constituents and key stakeholders

Systemic Approach

Involving ILO constituents and key stakeholders in the process

Beyond capacity building

Creating a robust private sector

Learning from South-South cooperation

Building connections between India and Afghanistan

Social dialogue in action

Consolidating local relationships and implementing new programmes

What the coaching clients say:

“The coaching program helps me to increase my customers in the city.”


“I have managed to solve my financial constraints through coaching sessions.”

Suraya Noori

“I have explored the possible solutions to improve my business through the coaching program.”

Marya Azimi

“I have recovered my lost place in the market and managed to expand my business thanks to the coaching program.”

Sayed Dawood

Roadmap real stories

The Project has strong benefits for the participants who did the training – to build their capacity to create policy and other new skills and competences. However, the Project is designed to ultimately impact young people, both those looking for traditional employment, as well as future or would-be entrepreneurs and small business people in Afghanistan. Some participants in Afghanistan trained to be Business Coaches or Start and Improve Your Business Trainers. These people worked with beta clients – small business owners and entrepreneurs – to solve very real business problems.

Local know-how for local businesses: Building sustainable capacity

Aadila* began her mushroom farm with the support of a development agency. However, some time later, her mushroom crops began to fail, and she didn’t know why.

With the development programme finished, she didn’t know how to get support and advice for her business. Fortunately Aadila came into contact with Farangis, from the ILO Road to Jobs programme, who had just trained as a coach as part of the Project.

Working with Farangis, Aadila tracked her problem to a supply issue. Once she changed supplier, her crops flourished, and she was back in business. Aadila’s case is a perfect example of why creating employment and supporting entrepreneurship must start with local capacity building. Once international and NGO programmes finish, they should not leave a vacuum behind. Programmes must build the capacity of local providers to mentor and coach local businesses.

Understanding cultural frameworks to combat business challenges

Fatemah* ran her own clothes-making business from her home in Kabul, with five female employees helping her sew garments. To help her manage her employees, she hired an experienced overseer. However, her new overseer was a man, and cultural norms in Afghanistan meant that Fatemah couldn’t have him in her home. This meant that she was unable to hire him, and was not able to grow her business. Working with a business coach, Fatemah managed to relocate her business and rented a space outside the home.

This meant that she could rehire her overseer, and continue to grow. Fatemah’s story highlights the importance of local coaches, embedded in local cultural contexts. Because the coaching programme trained local people, they understand the local customs and norms in Afghanistan, and are well-placed to advise on solutions.

* Names have been changed