Archive for the ‘General’ Category.

CIPE Blog Competition


CALLING ALL BLOGGERS! CIPE invites you to participate in our first Blog Competition.

We are looking for bloggers who have a passion for democratic and economic reforms and their role in development. You don’t need to be a professional writer or affiliated with an organization — anyone who can tell a compelling story is welcome to submit their best post.

Your blog post should be in English and address one of the following three topics:

1. How can social media empower citizens to participate in democratic dialogue on constructive reform?

2. What experiences from other countries can guide the role of youth in your country’s democratic and economic development?

3. What story or personal experience can you share to illustrate the need and possible solutions for democratic and economic reforms in your country?

The submission deadline is December 2, 2013. Authors of the three best posts will each receive a $250 honorarium and CIPE will publish the winning entries on the CIPE Development Blog.
Rules and submission guidelines can be found here.


Integrating Women into Value Chains

How can you effectively integrate women into value chains? With this question in mind, two representatives from the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), an international development association based in Canada, shared their experiences with women’s economic development projects.

The benefits of empowering and integrating women into the economy are widely known. But what exactly must be done to incorporate women into value chains, especially in parts of the world where women face cultural barriers to participating in their economies? Continue reading ‘Integrating Women into Value Chains’ »

CIPE Women Entrepreneurs Update

Nigeria – CIPE hosted a workshop in Lagos for 26 women participants representing 17 business and professional organizations throughout Nigeria. Facilitated by CIPE Nigeria Country Director Wumi Gbadamosi and CIPE consultant Carmen Stanila, the workshop focused on advocacy techniques for promoting policies that improve the business environment for women. The participants learned about the elements of building an effective advocacy campaign and laid the foundation for a network of women business associations by developing the mission, goals, membership categories, structure, and the groups’ rules for the network. This is the second workshop in a series, which is part of CIPE’s program to enhance the participation of Nigerian business women in decision-making.

Pakistan – The Peshawar Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized its first focus group meeting as part of a CIPE-funded initiative to identify and address policy-related barriers to the development of women’s entrepreneurship in Pakistan. Access to finance was highlighted as a major issue that will need to be addressed, both to encourage greater participation by women in entrepreneurship and to support the expansion of women-owned firms.

Afghanistan – The Impressive Consultancy Company and the Women’s Economic Empowerment Center conducted an exhibition of products made by women-owned businesses on February 14 to mark Valentine’s Day. Several students from CIPE’s Tashabos youth entrepreneurship course participated in the event, setting up booths to display and sell their products, providing them with a chance to improve their marketing skills.

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CIPE Women Entrepreneurs Update

Pakistan – CIPE completed a diagnostic report on the development of women’s chambers of commerce in Pakistan. The research shows that of eight registered women’s chambers, currently only five are functioning effectively. The report indicates that while these chambers have increased their membership, they continue to have deficits in governance, income generation and sustainability, and service delivery for members. Using this information, CIPE plans to develop a range of capacity-building initiatives for Pakistan’s women’s chambers, and will also integrate these organizations into current efforts to build a region-wide network of women’s business organizations.

Zimbabwe – CIPE partner the Women’s Alliance of Business Associations in Zimbabwe (WABAZ) conducted a Womenomics Dialogue Forum in cooperation with its members the Professional Women Executives and Business Women’s Forum, the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Center, and Network (ZWRCN) and UN WOMEN. The Forum provided an opportunity for 55 women participants to discuss the budgetary process, focusing on women’s attitudes towards participation in the budget process and how they can advance their participation in the formal sector. The attendees were encouraged to be part of organizations that advocate on their behalf. Action plans from the Forum included addressing women’s lack of knowledge of the budgetary process and the resulting disadvantages. Several of the host organizations pledged to provide support to these action plans. For example, ZWRCN will be responsible for research and obtaining information on gender-based budgeting, PROWEB will ad vocate for a quota system were women can sit in on decision-making boards, and WABAZ will disseminate information to its members to increase women’s participation in budgetary process.

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South Asian Women Entrepreneurs Come Together in Bangladesh

“Studies show that investing in women is a high yield investment as gender equality in access to education, healthcare, political participation, and economic participation is key to a country’s competitiveness and prosperity. It is a fact that women-run small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) drive economic growth and create jobs. This is true in my country and it is true around the world.” – Melanne S Verveer and Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia.

According to the World Bank, South Asia has the largest number of economically deprived and undernourished people in the world. Despite this it also has the world’s largest working age population and 25% of world’s middle-class consumers. If stabilized, the benefits of economic growth in the region would not only help alleviate policy, but would also extend to developed countries by supplying quality goods and services. On top of everything, peace in this region will also be ensured.

One of the ways to improve the economic conditions of South Asian countries is engaging women in economic development through entrepreneurial activities. To help support women interested in entrepreneurship, the U.S. State Department organized a two-day South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium in Dhaka on 9-10 December. One hundred and twenty women entrepreneurs from eleven countries in the region, including Central Asia, participated in the event, which focused on creating cross-border linkages between women entrepreneurs and leaders in South Asia. During the symposium, participants in breakout sessions discussed the challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs in technology, governance, trade, and entrepreneurship. Continue reading ‘South Asian Women Entrepreneurs Come Together in Bangladesh’ »

CIPE Women Entrepreneurs Update

Bangladesh – CIPE Pakistan Deputy Country Director Hammad Siddiqui participated in the South Asia Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium in Dhaka, which was organized by the U.S. State Department. Participants included leading women entrepreneurs and business association leaders from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal. Other participants included U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the State Department’s U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council Sarah Peck, and a range of other U.S. government officials. The Symposium sought to give women entrepreneurs in the region a platform to discuss trade facilitation and an opportunity to share best practices to grow their businesses. Siddiqui presented CIPE’s program to create a network of regional women’s business associations, which will complement the State Department’s efforts in the region.

Nigeria – CIPE Country Director Wumi Gbadamosi and Assistant Program Officer Erica Poff participated in an event in Akure, Ondo State, hosted by the Country Women’s Association of Nigeria (COWAN) in honor of International Rural Women’s Day. COWAN, a leading association representing about 260,000 rural women entrepreneurs across Nigeria, recently participated in a CIPE workshop to build the capacity of Nigerian women’s business associations to better represent their members. Gbadamosi and Poff also met with the Governor’s Special Advisor on NGOs to discuss how Ondo State is improving the business environment and promoting development, as well as the leadership of the Akure City Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture to discuss future programming opportunities with CIPE.

Constraints to Women’s Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies

Originally posted on the CIPE Development Blog November 27, 2012

Men in emerging economies significantly own more small and medium enterprises (SME) than women – women only represent about 38% of all SMEs. With all the strides that women entrepreneurs have made in the last decade – generating more employment, increasing trade, contributing to their local community development, and ultimately reducing poverty – why are not more women running their own businesses? Continue reading ‘Constraints to Women’s Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies’ »

CIPE Women Entrepreneurs Update

Bangladesh – The Bangladesh Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) organized a seminar in Dhaka on September 20, entitled “A Path toward the Development of Women Entrepreneurs in Bangladesh: the 2012-13 National Budget.” Among the over 200 attendees were Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, along with BWCCI board members, parliamentarians, representatives of international donors, NGOs, and women entrepreneurs. Former BWCCI President Selima Ahmad noted that while women have made significant contributions to the national economy, the government lacks a cohesive policy to promote women entrepreneurs. Minister Abdul Muhith responded that the government has now allocated the equivalent of over US $12 million for women entrepreneurs as a way to begin addressing this issue. Over 100 journalists from print, television and online media covered the event.

Mauritania – CIPE held a capacity-building workshop in Nouakchott for 20 participants representing the Union Mauritanienne des Femmes Entrepreneures et Commercantes (UMAFEC) and the Union Nationale du Patronat Mauritanien (UNPM). UMAFEC is the apex business membership organization for women entrepreneurs in Mauritania, and UNPM is a confederation of private sector associations that represent various Mauritanian economic sectors. The workshop, which was facilitated by CIPE Africa Program Officer Yana Hongla and CIPE consultant Haroune Sidatt, focused on ways to improve association management, particularly on topics such as membership development, service and program delivery, and good governance. CIPE is working to strengthen the capacity of UMAFEC and UNPM to better represent their members and advocate for policy reforms.

West Bank/Gaza – On September 9, as part of a CIPE-supported project to strengthen corporate and democratic governance, the Palestine Governance Institute hosted a workshop for Palestinian businesswomen. Speakers included: Asma Masri, the chairperson of the Nablus Businesswomen Association; Dr. Hisham Awartani, PGI executive director; and Mohammad Shahin, a member of the Palestinian Development Fund. The speakers explained ways in which Palestinian businesswomen can strengthen their firms. Dr. Awartani recommended that they adopt corporate governance practices in order to become more efficient and competitive and to access financial assistance provided by specialized international and local organizations. Twenty-eight businesswomen attended the workshop and expressed interest in future workshops on similar topics.

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Top Global Women

Looking through Diplomatic Courier magazine’s 2012 list of Top Global Women, it comes as no surprise to see names such as President Dilma Rousseff and Aung San Suu Kyi, not to mention a number of impressive women’s rights activists. I am pleased, however, to see business women making more and more appearances on such international lists of influential women. I suppose this is occurring both because women are rising in the business world and because the importance of women’s economic leadership is increasingly recognized.

The 2012 list has executives like Cher Wang, co-founder of HTC of smartphone fame, and Chanda Kochhar, head of ICICI Bank. Significantly, leaders of chambers of commerce are recognized: Christine Martey-Ochola, co-founder of the Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce; and Selima Ahmad, founder of the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Continue reading ‘Top Global Women’ »

How Confidence Affects Women

A recent post on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network (HBR) explores behaviors of women that can hold them back in the professional arena. The article cites studies which show that only half of women display high self-confidence while the other half admit to feelings of self-doubt regarding their performance. This lack of confidence translates into a reluctance to apply for jobs or promotions.

The article lists four ways women unintentionally sabotage the development of their careers. Included on the list are being overly modest, a reluctance to ask for help or about new opportunities, trying to blend in, and remaining silent instead of speaking up and adding to the discussion. All of these actions can lead to being overlooked in the workplace when a new job opens up or it is time for a promotion. Not necessarily due to a lack of ability, but because managers are not aware of their female employees’ capabilities. Continue reading ‘How Confidence Affects Women’ »