A Review of Objectives, Activities, and Future Plans AWCCI, Organizational Document (V6) - Page 18

ORGANIZATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY O rganizational sustainability is a topic of considerable importance for the leadership of the AWCCI. When the concept for a women’s chamber was first presented to donor organizations and Afghan Government officials, it was stressed that this organization would not simply be a temporary product of the donor-driven war economy, but rather function as a self-sufficient entity able to sustain itself financially through membership fees and other types of revenue-generating activities. The optimism of the AWCCI’s founders is being tested now, as the 3-year grant from the US State Department that has underwritten the Chamber’s operations has come to an end. In order to cover its operational expenses, the Chamber has developed a number of means by which it can generate income. The income-generating activities are detailed in the next sub-sections: Membership Fees Membership fees are a core component of the AWCCI’s long-term sustainability strategy. With that said, as of the drafting this document these fees only represented 7.3% of AWCCI’s operational budget for 2019. The more success that the AWCCI has in encouraging women to register a company and enter the formal economy, the more potential fee-paying members the Chamber will be able to attract. The Chamber’s survival, is, in effect, directly tied to its ability to accomplish its organizational mission. Sponsorship by Corporations and Donor Organizations of commissions that have already been approved by the Board of Directors are commissions from travel grants for members to participate in international exhibitions, as well as commissions for members who secure government contracts as a result of the scoring allowance won by the AWCCI from the National Procurement Authority. For-Profit Ventures The AWCCI is exploring several options to operate for- profit ventures that generate revenue for the AWCCI while also supporting Afghan businesswomen. Services that AWCCI could potentially provide in the future (for a reasonable fee) include operating a degree program in business-related subjects, facilitating online sales to international buyers of women-made products, and operating a packaging facility. Implementing projects for donor organizations, with added margin As part of its Executive Body, the AWCCI employs a Business Development Services Director dedicated to the mission of generating revenue for the Chamber. This includes regularly reviewing active Requests for Proposal/Requests for Quotation (RFPs/RFQs) directed at the Afghan market. If the RFP/RFQ relates to business-related training or research related to Afghan businesswomen, the AWCCI will prepare a proposal in response. To date, this the AWCCI has not been particularly successful in this area, but as the Chamber’s capacity and experience grows, so will its ability to compete against for-profit consultancies to prepare winning bids. CONCLUSION C ompared to other chambers of commerce in Afghanistan, the AWCCI operates at a significant disadvantage. The AWCCI’s constituency consists of a relatively small number of women-owned businesses operating in Afghanistan’s formal economy. The women-owned businesses that are licensed (and thus eligible for AWCCI membership) tend to be small- scale, and often find it difficult to pay a membership fee to support activities that may seem abstract. Despite the challenges, the AWCCI has aggressively fought for the interests of its constituents, thereby earning a seat at the table – in many cases, literally – for Afghan businesswomen. While the AWCCI has had significant achievements over the last several years, the leadership of the Chamber must always keep in mind three primary considerations: • Sustainability: the Chamber must always work to keep operating expenses to a minimum and seek out revenue in various forms to cover operating expenses • Value for members: the Chamber must always be in the process of developing new programs and improving existing programs that create value for its members • Institutionalization: the programs and operating ethos of the Chamber must become institutionalized, so that changes to the Executive Body and Board of Directors do not negatively impact the positive momentum of the organization In the yars to come, the AWCCI hopes to move closer and closer towards the ultimate goal of having Afghan businesswomen become equal partners in Afghanistan’s economic development. We hope to continue working with our existing partners – and join with new partners along the way – to see this vision realized. A master-embroiderer adds the final touches to a scarf at the women- owned Kandahar Treasures workshop in Kandahar City The AWCCI has had success in 2019 in attracting corporate sponsors who support the work that the Chamber is doing on behalf of Afghan businesswomen. Two prominent companies, Afghanistan International Bank and Roshan Telecommunications, agreed to make significant contributions to the AWCCI which covered 36.3% of the Chamber’s operational budget for 2019. In the future, the AWCCI must continue to approach both corporate entities as well as major donor organizations to attract funding to cover basic costs of operation. Commissions from Members In 2019, the AWCCI began developing several types of commissions to solicit from its members who directly benefit from the Chamber’s work. Two types 17 18