A Review of Objectives, Activities, and Future Plans AWCCI, Organizational Document (V6) - Page 6

future aspirations of the AWCCI. The programmatic areas of the AWCCI that will be detailed in this document are as follows: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY • Research (academic and policy related): The objective is to provide data that can be used practically in developing Afghan Government and donor organization polices related to women’s involvement in the Afghan economy A customer samples nuts at the woman- owned Akaam Zaeefi showroom • Sales support: The objective is to make a tangible impact on women-owned businesses by increasing sales of products, through local and international exhibitions, differentiating Afghan women-made products in international markets, and the promotion of women-made products through the AWCCI’s communications channels • Investment support: Mitigate risks and open up opportunities for female investors in the Afghan economy by providing market insights, improving access to finance, and facilitating access to infrastructure • Advocacy and raising awareness: The objective is to ensure that the contributions of businesswomen in the Afghan economy are recognized and promoted, and the perspectives of Afghan businesswomen are considered in both Afghan Government and international donor policies and programs I Jewelry produced and sold by women at the Babur Garden in Kabul n December 2001, as the era of Taliban rule in Afghanistan came to an end, the role of women in the Afghan economy was limited to covert enterprises operated in secret from home. In September 2019, at the time this document was published, there are thousands of women-owned businesses employing tens of thousands of Afghan workers.Additionally, a women’s chamber of commerce, the AWCCI, advocates relentlessly for the women business pioneers who are contributing to Afghanistan’s re-birth. The creation and continued existence of the Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI) was not a foregone conclusion – there were many voices that expressed skepticism about the need for a women’s chamber considering the existence of one national and one international chamber already operating in Afghanistan. In the case of Afghanistan, though, women face such extreme challenges in society and the economy that they require the support of an organization that is focused entirely on the female perspective. • Capacity building for both existing and aspiring Afghan businesswomen: The objective is to provide training to Afghan businesswomen and entrepreneurs to increase their knowledge in various subjects related to business While the AWCCI has undertaken a wide range of activities in support of Afghan businesswomen, maintaining the current momentum will be a major challenge in the near and intermediate future as a result of budget considerations. The AWCCI is able to cover its operational expense through a combination of membership dues, corporate sponsors, and donor grants, as well as income from several revenue generating activities. The AWCCI has and will continue to pursue revenue generating activities that adhere to its organizational mandate of serving Afghan businesswomen, while also contributing to the goal of long-term financial stability. We would be misleading the reader if we claimed that the leadership of the AWCCI was able to accomplish as much as it has purely through its own tenacity and ability. This is not the case; the existence of the AWCCI is the result of the hard work and encouragement of a myriad of individuals and organizations that include the Afghan businesswomen themselves, Her Excellency the First Lady and her office, international donor organizations, and supporters within the Afghan Government. Working with a range of local and international partners, we hope to do more and better work in the years to come on behalf of Afghanistan’s businesswomen and female entrepreneurs. A tailor adds the final touches to an elaborate dress at the women- owned Jama Design workshop in Kabul When the women’s business association Leading Entrepreneurs for Afghanistan’s Development (LEAD) was established in 2014 by a collective of Afghan businesswomen, the objective was to demonstrate the importance of having a permanent women’s chamber fighting for the interests of Afghan businesswomen. Over the course of two years operating as LEAD, and another two years operating as a provisional chamber of commerce, the leadership of the AWCCI was able to prove to both its supporters and critics that a women’s chamber can play a constructive role in the Afghan economy. This document is intended to give our partners and other interested parties an overview of the current activities and 5 6