Paying It Forward Profiles: Bibi Yalda Seddiqi

Bibi Yalda speaking with Afghanistan’s Minister of Energy and Water, Mr. Mohammad Gul Khulmi.

Determined to make positive environmental changes in Afghanistan, Bibi Yalda created Green Afghanistan, a business implementing the local assembly of improved, energy-efficient cook stoves. This is the business that she brought into the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program last year. We featured Bibi in our November 2018 newsletter, highlighting her passion for improving her country. Her contagious enthusiasm and drive did not dissipate after her Leadership Development experience in Dallas.

Bibi Yalda formed her company partnership after learning about new technology that allows cook stoves to be less of an environmental and health hazard. Partnering with RAHKAR/Greenway, her company paves the way for the packing and distribution of these new eco-friendly stoves.

Traditional stoves use wood or coal which has a disastrous effect on the health of the environment and the women and girls preparing meals. A typical Afghan family will spend 40% of their income on sources of fuel alone. Women and girls spend up to five hours each day hauling up to 150 lbs of wood for their stoves increasing their chances for injury or attack. Women and girls who sit at their cook stove will be exposed to the equivalent of 20 cigarettes per hour of cooking.

The new cook stove distributed by Bibi Yalda and her team will reduce smoke by 70% and fuel consumption by 65%. The stove also frees up 50% of the women’s time giving her about 60 or more days of free time to spend with her family and look after her children’s education.

Bibi Yalda is now founder of both the Women’s Prosperity Social Foundation (WPSF) and the Women’s Initiative for Sustainable Energy (WISE). These foundations focus on the role of women in the energy sector and the global call for renewable energy. Following suit with the PTB® Pay it Forward component, WISE assists Afghan women wishing to be entrepreneurs and provides them with ways to become active in their communities. With the backing of GIZ, a German company focused on providing services in the field of international development, WISE receives funding to send women to India as part of a training program showcasing women entrepreneurs.

Bibi is also paying it forward by mentoring a student from the provincial mini-course, PTB® / Northwood University Pathways. Nazifa Hofiani runs a fruit and vegetable processing company in Parwan and with Bibi’s help, she will soon have her first business plan completed and ready to present later this March.

Bibi Yalda says she is thankful to everyone involved in the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program for giving Afghan women the opportunity to gain the knowledge so they might turn their ideas into action. We are so proud of Bibi and her go get ‘em spirit!

Written by: Sonja Sparks, 2019 IEEW Intern