Mozamel Aman is an afghan social entrepreneur based in Berlin with a passion for Tech, Entrepreneurship and Education. He is the Founder of Startupistan a tech and entrepreneurship ecosystem initiative in Afghanistan. Last year, we organized blockchain 101 training with his community. We wanted to give him a voice regarding the local situation in Afghanistan and the way international friends can help.
In recent weeks and now months, we have had to observe the dramatic developments in Afghanistan. You are in close contact with your family and friends there. What is the local situation like?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my thoughts regarding the situation in Afghanistan. Of course it is baffling to see how quickly everything escalated and how overnight the fate of an entire country went upside down. I have been in constant contact with my family, friends and colleagues on the ground and trying to be as helpful as I can from here. Despite the whole chaos, distress and uncertainty at least there seems to be a significant decrease in violence which is a silver lining of sorts, but people are hope and perspective less and are living in a dire situation where they don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I know that with such an immense transformation we need to be patient to see and experience what will come, but for the common person who lives from daily wages or paycheck to paycheck it is a matter of survival and it is devastating to see.
Can you briefly describe the most important projects you have launched in Afghanistan in the last years? What is the current status of these projects?
We founded Startupistan as a grassroot entrepreneurship community in Kabul in 2018 and the goal has been to encourage entrepreneurship and adapt technology for good. We started as a small online community to test and find the first few like minded people so that we can have ambassadors on the ground which slowly slowly become more formal and in the last couple of years we have developed a local Digital Skills school, a coworking space and a small Incubator for Startups. We have hosted a range of conferences and hackathons on a range of relevant topics to create awareness and prototype solutions for local problems.
Currently our whole team is still on the ground, but our campus remains closed. We are observing the developments and will act accordingly, but to put things into perspective we remain committed to Afghanistan and will continue to operate. We are currently adapting our offerings and are looking for ways to offer our service to both women and men equally.
Are there possibilities to help from abroad in the very confusing and dynamic situation? What can be done to help and support the people in Afghanistan?
I believe the first thing that is currently missing in Afghanistan is ‘Hope’. The very first thing we can do is to morally support the millions of Afghans who are totally hopeless and are currently leading an uncertain life. More concretely, ways of help can be asking governments to help evacuate people whose lives are in danger, but also not to forget the millions of people who will still remain in Afghanistan, this can be the biggest humanitarian crisis, so we have to act now and deploy support. Of course donation to initiatives that are on the ground can be a good immediate help.
Do you see a role for blockchain technology in defusing the crisis in Afghanistan? Can we network and support a tech community to develop and disseminate such tools?
I believe in a situation like this blockchain can play a very vital role, decentralized and Autonomous Organizations and peer to peer solutions are key for having a thriving community in uncertain times like these. Unfortunately we also have to take into account the local context of Afghanistan, we lack infrastructure and expertise on the ground, so there is a big need for support and network, the global community needs to come together and help prototype solutions, we are currently looking into a peer to peer payment solution and will be happy to have exchange of ideas on this.
Thank you so much for your time! How can we best follow your work?
Our crowdfunding campaign is still on: Startupistan.org/100 also if you would like to make a donation if crypto please reach out at mozamel (at) startupistan and we will send you the instructions. Please note that we have a registered non-profit in Germany and we can issue donation receipts for tax benefits.