Path of the Friend

We travel regularly to Afghanistan to bear witness to the realities on the ground, to see first-hand the challenges Afghan women are facing, and to understand what we can do to serve.

One of the primary tenets of our work in the world as independent citizen diplomats is that by showing up to places of conflict, what is “ours to do” becomes clear. We overcome the sense of helplessness that is such a debilitating a side effect of global media. And we demonstrate that there are Americans willing to listen.

We have met and talked with scores of women and men living and working in Kabul as well as Taliban controlled provinces like Khost, Wardok and Laghman. We have come to believe that the future of the country lies in the hands of the women doctors, teachers, business women, local leaders, lawyers and activists who are working tirelessly to build a country based on human rights and economic development.

Our work in Afghanistan currently takes three forms:

Elizabeth writes and speaks regularly about the conflict, regional terrorism and the global spread of fundamentalism, and the role of women’s leadership in creating lasting peace and stability.

We raise money for Afghan grassroots projects. We give the money through our Flow Fund with no administrative fees. In addition to funding small projects we also  fund individual Afghan women and men that we know personally and trust to dispense funds directly in those places we cannot visit.

Elizabeth is now working with a small group of women advocates and funders to host a Women’s Regional Summit to give a greater voice and opportunity for cooperation to the women of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. In October/November 2010 she will visit these countries to begin setting up the regional network that will develop the project and create the agenda.

We encourage people to go to Afghanistan and see for themselves what is happening there and find what they are called to do. For help or information about such trips, email

What can we do in Afghanistan?

Letter from the Road #49: Afghanistan: Women and Development!  – Elizabeth

“We need to put women and girls at the center of the development process in Afghanistan. The economic implications of gender discrimination are considerable. To deny women the opportunity to work inside or outside the home is to deprive a poor country of labor and talent… Women in poor countries who earn money spend it on different things than the men. Women buy food and medicine for the family. They buy uniforms so daughters can go to school. They may buy goats so they can earn more money by selling milk. They are natural entrepreneurs…”
(Read more…)

Letter from the Road #48: Afghanistan: Changing a Culture of Violence  – Elizabeth

“According to some security experts the countries that nurture terrorists are disproportionally those where women are marginalized. The reason there are so many Muslim terrorists has little do do with the Koran but a great deal to do with lack of robust female participation in the society and economy of many Islamic countries.

There are, of course, many reasons for the growth of Muslim terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan: decades of war, regional politics, fundamentalism, frustration at the backwardness in the Islamic world, resentment of corrupt rulers, fear of modernity and globalization, the threat of western occupation…” (Read more…)




The Path of the Friend is a project of the Boulder Institute for Nature and the Human Spirit,
a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. 1644 Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado 80302 USA.