A new loan program, mini-courses in remotes provinces, and strengthened relationships define these past months.
Fall of 2017 marked the beginning of a new training program in Afghanistan that IEEW has been working to launch for years. 54 women in Afghanistan’s more remote provinces (Mazar and Herat were pilot cities) were awarded certificates for completing the new PTB / NU Pathways mini-course – 5 full days of training followed by a 30 day period to complete a business plan. The IEEW plan is to do it again in 2018.
Due to the new program and the need for Persian speaking mentors, new contacts were made with business women in London, Australia and Canada, as well as the USA. In early 2018, the new Afghan Women’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry, led by PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Alum, convinced the government to back a 5% set aside for women business owners. First Lady Rula Ghani hosted in-country course graduation in Afghanistan for the second year in a row, while for the first time, Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib of Afghanistan will be on hand for the Graduation Gala at La Cima Club Las Colinas.
The gracious women of PTB Rwanda welcomed two IEEW USA delegations in March and May. March delegates and IEEW Board of Directors Monica Smiley and Sonu Ratra worked with Rwandans on the selection committee by hearing in-country graduates present their newly minted business plans. May IEEW delegates Nancy Hyde (Board of Directors) and Mary Pointer (President, Sister Cities OKC) monitored and made suggestions for the alumnae association’s loan committee as they worked through the IEEW / Arrow Global Capital processes and procedures for the first pilot loan program. AAPTBR also partnered with the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion to educate rural women in a one-week seminar. Access Bank’s Women Banking program stepped up with an additional $3,500 for the training, demonstrating their dedication to empowering women in Rwanda. Signaling their continued support for IEEW, presidential partner Bank of America increased their annual giving by 25% in 2018, while AT&T held firm with their support in the midst of a strong belt-tightening. The Hill Newspaper, also a presidential sponsor, met to discuss a larger role in building bridges toward peace together.