A Review of Objectives, Activities, and Future Plans AWCCI, Organizational Document (V6) - Page 10

Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) United Nations Women (UN Women) Considering the overlapping mandates of the AWCCI and MoWA, the AWCCI has kept in close communication with the ministry in order to find ways to work together constructively. The AWCCI and MoWA currently maintain a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that outlines areas where productive collaboration is possible. The UN Women office in Afghanistan has been a strong supporter of AWCCI’s initiatives, most tangibly so in the area of women’s industrial parks. UN Women funded the concept development for a network of women’s industrial parks in Afghanistan, with a grant covering the costs for a research trip to Hyderabad, India. The purpose of the trip was to gain an in-depth understanding of the structure of the women’s industrial park network operated by the Association of Lady Entrepreneurs of India. As a result of the grant, the AWCCI was able to produce a Concept Note for the industrial park scheme, which has served as a valuable starting point in discussions with Afghan Government agencies and donor organizations. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Through its Department of Economic Cooperation, MoFA provided valuable support to the AWCCI to ensure that the Women’s Chamber was able to participate in the 7th iteration of the Regional Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA). AWCCI and MoFA collaborated in developing and publishing a policy paper after the RECCA VII meeting in Turkmenistan. MoFA established RECCA’s Chamber of Commerce in which AWCCI is expected to play a major role as the voice of Afghan businesswomen. Ministry of Finance (MoF) The MoF has supported the AWCCI in several ways. The MoF’s personnel who fulfill the duties of the Secretariat of the High Economic Council have always been very responsive to the AWCCI’s requests, and additionally the ministry has delegated staff for AWCCI-led tax compliancy training for Afghan women business owners. International Trade Centre (ITC) From the start of its work in Afghanistan, the ITC has made a point to solicit the views of Afghan businesswomen in general, and the AWCCI in particular. In 2017, the ITC reached out to the AWCCI for support developing the export strategy document for the women-centric Precious Stones & Jewelry sector, a component of the larger National Export Strategy. The ITC has also been tremendously supportive in working to integrate AWCCI’s members into its SheTrades initiative, an effort to integrate women around the world into the global trading system. Most recently, the ITC funded the development of this organizational document as part of its commitment to strengthening the AWCCI’s capacity. International Labour Organization (ILO) The ILO has been a steadfast partner for the AWCCI, providing support in a number of different areas. First and foremost, the ILO contributed funding to renovate the first women’s industrial park in Kabul. The AWCCI expects that this park will serve as a critical test case for the larger industrial park concept. The ILO has also supported the capacity building mission of the AWCCI, through a collaboration operating the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) training program. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) The AWCCI is very appreciative of the UNODC for its assistance in planning and implementing periodic markets showcasing products produced by women- owned businesses, at the United Nations compound in Kabul. United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) The AWCCI and UNAMA have collaborated to develop a system whereby Afghan women-owned businesses will receive a scoring allowance in the bidding process for UN contracts. The AWCCI’s contribution to the economic development of our dear Afghanistan is increasing by the day. Internationally, they also are valuable ambassadors for Afghanistan, spreading abroad the trademark Made By Afghan Women. May God bless their efforts and bring them all the success they deserve! - Her Excellency Rula Ghani, First Lady of Afghanistan 9 Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, & Livestock (MAIL) have had a tremendous impact on the AWCCI’s work, particularly in the area of policy advocacy. In areas related to agricultural production, MAIL has been a consistent supporter of AWCCI’s members. At the annual Agricultural Fair at MAIL’s Badam Bagh facility, AWCCI members involved in the sector have been invited to participate and showcase their products. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation & Development (MRRD) The MRRD has worked with the AWCCI on rural women enterprise development, to include sessions organized jointly to assist rural women in licensing their businesses and entering the formal economy. MRRD and the AWCCI have also collaborated to assist rural women in developing their supply chains and sales networks, through the organization of business- to-business (B2B) events for Afghan businesswomen from both rural and urban markets. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) The OECD has invited AWCCI to participate in a series of Public-Private Working Group events focused on Afghanistan’s economic development. In their reports on economic development in Afghanistan, the OECD has acknowledged the important role that the AWCCI must play in order to achieve success. Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) When the AWCCI began setting up its zonal offices, CIPE provided training to newly hired staff on the fundamentals of chambers of commerce and their functions. CIPE also provided funding for a study trip to learn from the Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce. German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) We strongly believe in the inclusion of local female voices in the development initiates being implemented in Afghanistan. As such, we applaud GIZ for designating a seat for the AWCCI on the Steering Committee for its 6-year Sustainable Economic Development and Employment Promotion (SEDEP) project. We hope more development organizations will follow GIZ’s example in this area. Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) The IEEW, through its PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS program, is a great partner of the AWCCI. Notably, a majority of the AWCCI leadership has been trained by the IEEW and are graduates of their programs. They The SAARC Chamber of Commerce has been a valued partner for the AWCCI by supporting its inclusion in the regional economy. The SAARC Chamber has granted the AWCCI a seat on the Women Entrepreneurs Council, thereby allowing the AWCCI to learn from the experience of women entrepreneurs in neighboring countries and benefit from their insights. South Asian Women Development Forum (SAWDF) Over the last several years, SAWDF has organized a number of regional events related to women in business. The Forum has always made the point to invite the AWCCI to participate, and it has been a valuable experience for the AWCCI’s leadership to learn from the experiences of fellow businesswomen in neighboring countries. Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce & Investment (ACCI), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and the Afghanistan Chamber of Industries and Mines (ACIM) It is important for Afghanistan’s various chambers of commerce to work together constructively towards our shared mission of growing the Afghan economy. The ACCI, ICC, and ACIM have provided support to the women’s chamber in different ways, and we are thankful for their collaborative spirt. The ACCI office in Jalalabad has generously allocated space at their facilities free of cost, while the ICC’s chapter in Afghanistan has waived membership fees for the AWCCI in its esteemed organizations. The ICC has also designated a seat for the AWCCI among its Board of Directors. The ACIM has been a staunch ally of the AWCCI, by lobbying for its inclusion in various Government bodies, as well as collaborating with the AWCCI during the drafting process for the most recent Chambers Regulating Law. The European Union (EU) The concerted support of the EU for Afghanistan’s economic development has been felt in numerous areas, including at the AWCCI offices. This overview of the AWCCI’s activities and future ambitions has been in need for some time, and it was finally brought to life with the help of EU funding and technical support from the ITC. 10