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Educate women creating stable economies globally

by Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women
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Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
Educate women creating stable economies globally
First Lady Ghani of Afghanistan and PTB Graduates
First Lady Ghani of Afghanistan and PTB Graduates

MAINTAINING GLOBAL CONNECTIONS

Typically, IEEW would be doing a final review on PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Class of 2020 grades, attendance, and both written and oral business plan presentations. Luckily, in Afghanistan, the presentation process and graduation were sped up because many students that are also members of the Afghan Women's Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AWCCI) thought they would be heading to the United Nations in New York, and to Washington, DC, for an unprecedented Afghan Women Made trade show and fashion show to encourage exports of their goods and demonstrate the advancements made in their industries. Of course, that's not happening right now. Meanwhile, in Rwanda, students were restricted from attending their last week of class and having the privilege of presenting their business plans to the independent panel that not only grades the oral presentation but also offers the chance to hear expert feedback from the panel. Each detail of IEEW's in-country business education program offers women entrepreneurs real-world experience that helps them take their businesses to the next level, teaching each student tools designed to create sustainable, financially sound operations.

As IEEW staff and facilitators navigate the unknown, we've found that one thing is certain - that things are definitely UNcertain and unprecedented in our time. Thankfully, technology has permeated our world to such a degree that even war challenged and emerging countries have access to internet service and mobile wireless. Mobile tech is the most advanced. To avoid internet outages, a real test for Rwanda will begin this week as we ask each 2020 student to use technology to record their own business plan presentation and submit it to the independent committee responsible for grading oral presentations. IEEW has also called on American supporters to grade plans and offer feedback that can be used to improve the presentation.
IEEW is no stranger to working in a global environment. Contact with eMentors, volunteers, students, and 800 alumnae happens around the globe. Just this morning, as usual, IEEW spoke to facilitator Chantal Munanayire from the safety of our own homes in Oklahoma City, Norman, and Kigali via WhatsApp. Then, staff had our Monday morning meeting using Google Duo. Working in the cloud is now an old-school habit for our worldwide team. However, some of our students and sponsors do not have this luxury. Jan, owner of Eden Salon in Oklahoma City and long time IEEW supporter, has had to suspend salon services while the state is experiencing a shelter in place policy.
"Our business [salon and services] depends on direct personal contact with our guests, so we are unable to be open. Honestly, I feel and hear that the staff miss our guests and each other more than they worry about getting sick, but they are being smart by staying in and staying strong!" - Jan
The PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS ® program was founded on the idea that economically stable societies have a much greater capacity for peace. Small business has always been the backbone for economic stability, and IEEW believes that diversity is the key to development. This philosophy has never been more tested than throughout the past fourteen years of educating women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda that continuously persevere through one misfortune after another. Supporters of IEEW, whether student, volunteer, or sponsor, will be the inspiration needed to weather through the storm caused by COVID-19 / coronavirus around the globe. With that, we sincerely thank you for your continued enthusiasm and support for the IEEW mission.
We ask that you continue to remember us and why we do what we do - empower women through thick and thin - inspire societies toward peace and stability through our unique educational program. As our long-time supporter from Northwood University, Dr. Fegan, always and often stressed, there is always an opportunity in every challenge. In the USA, Congress and the President have expanded the tax credit for donating to 501(c)3 nonprofits, meaning that your support is now going to benefit you even more. Bipartisan leadership understands that nonprofits are, like small businesses, a vital part of our prosperity. Every dollar counts. If you have time today, donate and support our mission.
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Students discover the joys of reading
Students discover the joys of reading

Your dollars are hard at work...here's an article recently written about two of our current PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® students attending the Rwanda in-country classes.

Branding is a key step to any new business. Sometimes a brand becomes part of our everyday vocabulary, such as googled, or Kleenex, and even bubble wrap. And some names become synonymous with an action; hoola-hoop, trampoline, and jet ski. So, it is exciting to see some of the clever branding being used by students of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® 2020 class.

Two business names that stand out in the Rwanda class are Books and Brains and Little Smiles. Both names immediately bring to mind children. In fact, both entrepreneurs cater to children, one in education and one in fashion. Already these women are exhibiting a knack for branding and marketing by addressing the customer segment in their company name.

Florence’s love of books led her to become a French & English translator until she started her own business. As a mother of three boys, Florence quickly discovered how difficult it was going to be to offer her family the kind of access to the library that she had so cherished. Her passion for reading and the desire to share with her boys led her to start a mobile library. The library, Books & Brains, mission is to introduce the joy of reading to children. An online 'booking' system allows families to reserve books for the next drive by.

Linda’s is also in the Rwanda class of 2020 and her company, Little Smiles, is a children's clothing and accessories shop that must have been a natural fit for someone raised with six siblings and now has two young children of her own. Linda has all the typical questions that small businesses face, such as figuring out her market segment, human resource management, and most of all, how to make it all work and still maintain a healthy family life. Still, Linda has dreams of supplying preschools and opening a garden in back of her store where children can read books, play, and generate Little Smiles.

If you would like to eMentor a student such as Florence or Linda, take a look at our Mentorship Page and contact us by email at your earliest convenience.

Linda in the doorway of  Little Smiles
Linda in the doorway of Little Smiles
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Business visit to Hadia's Dream Cafe in Kabul
Business visit to Hadia's Dream Cafe in Kabul

Thanks to the holiday generosity of over 40 individuals, IEEW is more than halfway to our funding project for the 2020 in-country business training class. This 10-week course is vital to growing the small business infrastructure necessary to sustain individuals, communities, and economies.

The PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program can only take around 30 students per class to be the most effective, and with the need for the program growing each year, selections into each class become tougher. What factors are considered when selecting who gets into the 10-week program?

The first thing to consider: did the applicant turn in their complete application and all required documents on time? Does the applicant meet the specific requirements for the program (at least 1 year in business and at least 51% ownership)? These are the basic requirements. Next, in-country representatives contact the applicants and conduct business visits to meet the business owners and make sure that their business is legitimate. Then, we consider the very important question: what is the applicant’s likelihood to remain engaged in the class and then to pay it forward after they have graduated from the program? Based on application responses, this is deeply considered when it comes down to final selections. We also want a good mix of industries represented in each class to maximize impact on the overall economy in Afghanistan and Rwanda. It isn’t easy, but the list comes down to the top 30 (or so) in each country and the applicants who didn’t make it are encouraged to apply again and to remain involved in their communities and in business.

Classes are already off to a snowy start in Afghanistan, and in Rwanda, classes start on January 21st! We are so excited to announce this year’s entrepreneurs. The selection process is being finalized for Rwanda after leaders on the ground visited dozens of applicant businesses. This season of preparation for the next class is all worth it when the first day comes around and the women meet each other and join the sisterhood of PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS®. What relationships will form? What success stories will come from this class of entrepreneurs? We are proud to take part in our ever-evolving world by empowering diverse classes of women in business.

Your donations help make a difference. IEEW asks that you share our good news with your family and friends and encourage them to support our successful cause.

Visit to Linda's Little Smiles kids' clothing shop
Visit to Linda's Little Smiles kids' clothing shop
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Bibi speaking with the Minister of Energy & Water
Bibi speaking with the Minister of Energy & Water

Paying it Forward Profiles: Bibi in Afghanistan

Determined to make positive environmental changes in Afghanistan, Bibi 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 in 2018. 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 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 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 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 has also paid it forward by mentoring a student from the provincial mini-course, PTB® / Northwood University Pathways. Nazifa runs a fruit and vegetable processing company in Parwan and with Bibi’s help, she will soon have her first business plan completed.

Bibi 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

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Organization Information

Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women

Location: Oklahoma City, OK - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ieew_ptb
Project Leader:
Karel Ford
Oklahoma City, OK United States
$10,843 raised of $21,000 goal
 
45 donations
$10,157 to go
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