The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women may be a 501(c)3 non-profit, but we operate as a true entrepreneurial venture, making pivots as we go (and grow). In our 12 years of service, we’ve empowered over 650 women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda. We are proud of those numbers, especially given our shoestring budget, private sector funding, and lean-but-mean full time staff of four. Yet I have always wondered: how can we do more? How can we reach more women? Bring more peace? Spread more empowerment?
In our brainstorming sessions over the years, one of the many routes to growth that kept coming up was to expand the in-country course work beyond the cities of Kabul in Afghanistan and Kigali in the Rwanda. In many cases, in fact, the women far beyond the more progressive mores of city life are often the women who need the education and training we provide the most. Some of these women have never been exposed to business basics that we ensure each graduate learns. And while we as a team have put together funding requests and grant proposals to expand into the provinces and get out of the cities, nothing has ever clicked at the right time.
So this year, we did something new that at its essence remains wholly entrepreneurial: we decided to do it on our own with no official sponsor or partner. Sure, money is tight. It is for every non-profit in town and around the US: times are tough. But we must grow and evolve to push our mission forward.It is thanks in no small part to the consistent, steadfast and impressive work of Facilitator Manizha Wafeq, PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS(r) will be taking mini-courses into the Afghan Provinces in November and December. Manizha knows Afghanistan, and she knows women.
Manizha and our team have worked together to shrink our 10-week in-country coursework into a 5-day intensive mini-training, out of which Afghan provincial women will be on their way to a completed business plan and tapped into a hundreds-strong network of women entrepreneurs in a country where women need all the allies they can get. Jelalabad, Herat and Mazar will be the beneficiaries of this first foray. Applications go live today to join the mini-sessions AND the Class of 2018. We look forward to meeting tomorrow’s world-shakers soon!
[VIDEO] Even the Afghan Ambassador
, Hamdullah Mohib, knows how amazing PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS(r) is! We very much appreciate his words of support at graduation 2017 in this video.