Arzu Studio Hope






Arzu Studio Hope weaves peace by helping women in Afghanistan break the poverty cycle. By giving them access to skills and market, Arzu is acting as a catalyst for resilience – enabling these women to become the authors of their own story in the nation’s peacebuilding process. Arzu translates this into a simple equation:

Jobs + Education + Healthcare = Peace

Arzu has impacted the lives of 2,000 beneficiaries, enabling more than 500 weavers, most of whom are women, to earn 68% more than the average Afghan per capita income, with 55% owning their own homes. Better income and access to Arzu’s social program benefits has helped to provide access to education and healthcare, resulting in 20% of beneficiaries with at least one child in college and amongst women, all mothers to survive childbirth.

Not only does this amplify Afghanistan’s demographic dividend, it also has tangible multi-generational impact that can reduce the risk of these women and their families resorting to a life of violence or falling prey to conflict in the future.

Connie K. Duckworth Founder & CEO Connie K. Duckworth
Founder & CEO

“It is no longer possible to camouflage and ignore the vast economic disparities between the haves and the have-nots, which I believe are the root of global conflict.  I don’t think of the wealth pyramid in the traditional sense with the vast Base of Pyramid.  Rather, I see this pyramid inverted, with the massive base of billions of the poor unstably balanced on the increasingly unsustainable pinnacle of the developed world.  Economically empowering women, so often kept in the cellar of this pyramid, is critical to the world’s future prosperity and possibilities for peace. “


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Sustainable, scalable, inclusive peacebuilding, that has long-term and transformative impact.

The Organisers


The IIX-N-Peace Innovation Challenge is a joint initiative by the N-Peace Network, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX).

Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX)

IIX is a a leading organisation in the global impact investing space whose mission is to impact 100 million lives by 2020 by linking development with finance.

N-Peace Network

N-Peace is a UNDP-managed multi-country network of peace advocates in Asia advancing women’s leadership for conflict prevention, resolution, and peacebuilding.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

UNDP works in more than 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.