Building Digital Infrastructure For Developing Countries: Aseel’s Journey


In this episode of Found, host Becca Szkutak is joined by Darrell Etherington to interview Nasrat Khalid, the founder of Aseel. Originally starting as an e-commerce company, Aseel has transformed into a humanitarian aid organization, providing essential supplies to those in need in Afghanistan and Turkey. Nasrat discusses how Aseel built a digital infrastructure that allows artisans in developing countries to sell their products worldwide.

Key Takeaway

Aseel, originally an e-commerce platform, has transitioned into a humanitarian aid organization, utilizing its digital infrastructure to deliver emergency food supplies to vulnerable populations in Afghanistan and Turkey. This demonstrates the significant impact technology can have in addressing global crises and supporting the economic empowerment of developing countries.

Empowering Artisans in Developing Countries

Aseel’s journey began as an e-commerce platform that aimed to bridge the gap between artisans in developing countries and global customers. By creating a robust and user-friendly online marketplace, Aseel enabled artisans to showcase their unique creations to a broader audience, expanding their reach beyond local markets.

The digital infrastructure built by Aseel connected artisans with customers from around the world, opening up new business opportunities and economic empowerment. This not only helped the artisans in developing countries gain financial independence but also provided them with a platform to preserve and promote their traditional arts and crafts.

Pivoting Towards Humanitarian Aid

In 2021, Afghanistan faced a severe crisis, leading Aseel to pivot its focus from e-commerce to humanitarian aid. Recognizing the urgent need to address the food insecurity plaguing the country, Aseel redirected its efforts towards delivering emergency food supplies to the most vulnerable populations in Afghanistan and Turkey.

The digital infrastructure that Aseel had already established played a crucial role in facilitating this transition. Leveraging their network and logistics capabilities, Aseel efficiently mobilized resources, coordinated efforts, and provided timely relief to those in dire need.

Ethical Considerations and Impact

Aseel’s work in humanitarian aid raises important ethical considerations. As a business that serves vulnerable populations, ensuring transparency, accountability, and sustainability becomes paramount. Nasrat discusses the importance of establishing partnerships with trusted local organizations and implementing rigorous monitoring systems to safeguard the integrity of their operations.

By repurposing their digital infrastructure for a noble cause, Aseel has shown the transformative potential technology can have in addressing humanitarian crises. Their work not only provides immediate relief but also supports the long-term development of the communities they serve.

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