Archive for March 2012

KnowHow: Mentoring Women Business Associations

Originally posted on CIPE’s Development Blog
Members of Women in Management and Business, a KnowHow
 participant in Lagos, Nigeria (Photo: Staff).


Women around the world are still underrepresented in the policymaking and economic spheres. One way for women to become active citizens is working with civil society organizations that have the tools and knowledge to help give them a voice and advocate for reform. That’s why CIPE launched the KnowHow mentorship program (KnowHow) last year on International Women’s Day. KnowHow connects volunteers with technical expertise to local associations around the world seeking their know-how.  To date, the program has successfully matched experienced business professionals with twelve associations from developing countries, ten of which are women’s business associations.

Here are some highlights of what’s been happening:

The Association of Business Women in Serbia (ABW-Serbia)  has been working with Peter O’Neil since last summer. They have a monthly conference call to improve on ABW’s pressing organizational issues, including fundraising, financing, and membership services.  O’Neil and Anastasia Jelasic, the Business Development Advisor for ABW, recently created ABW’s working plan for the year 2012, and are moving forward with the mentorship. As Jelasic noted, “ABW expects that this KnowHow mentorship will provide the organization with the knowledge and skills necessary for making our organization sustainable as Serbia joins the path to EU membership.”

Since December 2010, Russell McKinnon has been mentoring the Women Business Owners Jamaica (WBO),  an association that promotes the success of women business owners through education, research, mentorship, and networking. Through online meetings and document review and exchange, Russ works closely with WBO to strengthen the organization’s capacity and to develop sustainable revenue sources to better serve the needs of WBO’s members and stakeholders. Yaneek Page, the President of WBO, said that “a significant benefit to us thus far is the input and guidance of our [KnowHow mentor, Russ] in the development of a comprehensive three year strategic plan that’ll serve as a platform for WBO’s organizational growth, resilience and continuity.”

The Association of Businesswomen and Top Managers (AFAFCI) in Romania  – which aims to become one of the main representatives of the local business community for women – is working with Harriet Fader to identify the needs and values of AFAFCI’s 39 members. Through KnowHow, AFAFCI has been exposed to new strategies for increasing membership, networking activities for members to better connect and start partnerships, and ideas of community service projects. Delia Cojocaru, the Executive Director of AFAFCI, strongly believes that “exchanging experiences and best practices is essential for organization progress. CIPE’s KnowHow Exchange [is] a [great opportunity] that turned into a successful dialogue.”

Check out how other business associations in the program are improving their organizations through the KnowHow mentorships  and what the mentors think about assisting  associations in other countries. Two of the mentors, Peter O’Neil and Susan Sarfati, also shared their KnowHow experiences on video.

CIPE will continue working with women’s business associations to help empower them by growing their capacity. If you would like to help build women’s associations’ know-how , or if your association could benefit from getting a mentor, let us know!

CIPE Entrepreneurship Update

Zimbabwe - CIPE’s partner the Women’s Alliance of Business Associations in Zimbabwe is hosting a series of breakfast meetings called ‘Breaking Financial Barriers to Success’ for women entrepreneurs as part of ongoing efforts to empower women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe. Twenty two participants attended the meeting and interacted with a series of presenters, which included the Director of Women Affairs and Gender and Community Development, Research Manager for FBC Bank and the Business Development Manager for Micro King Finance. The Meeting was attended by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZTV) which aired footage during the nightly news. CIPE is supporting WABAZ to empower women entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe through technical assistance, advocacy, and research on issues affecting women in business.

Comment here or share a message with the Community of Women Entrepreneurs:

International Women’s Day in Nepal

The SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council was established in the year 2001 in Sri Lanka, with the objective of developing and promoting women entrepreneurs in the South Asian region. The Council works towards facilitating co-operation and networking among the women of the SAARC region for the socio economic empowerment. The SCWEC Chair rotates country wise and at present Nepal has got the opportunity to head the Council.

Realizing the importance of a consolidated effort for synergy and effective advocacy through networking, SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneurs Council (SCWEC) has been organizing an event in Kathmandu, Nepal on the occasion International Women’s Day since the year 2009. The event focuses on women’s strength and ingenuity from the South Asian region.

This year SCWEC is organizing a “Women Master Chef Event,” which has been scheduled to be held on 29th March, 2012 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Continue reading ‘International Women’s Day in Nepal’ »

Women Advance the Fundamentals for Haiti’s Future

Originally posted on CIPE’s Development Blog March 5, 2012

Haitian president Michel Martelly visits the women involved in drafting a National Platform of Action in Port-au-Prince on March 1, 2012. (Photo: Haitienne Magazine)

by Stephanie Foster

I just returned from Haiti, where I was working with women convened by the Haitian group Femmes en Democratie to develop a women’s policy platform.  In Creole, nap vanse means we advance, and it is critical that Haitians move forward together to build a stronger country and a stronger economy.

The priorities identified can help both women and men prosper, but women’s participation in Haiti’s political, economic, and social institutions is critical.  Women comprise 52% of Haiti’s population, and approximately 44% of households are led by women.  Like every country, Haiti cannot make economic and social progress if it leaves half of its people behind and if it fails to tap the diverse experiences, talents and vision of its women.

Continue reading ‘Women Advance the Fundamentals for Haiti’s Future’ »

20 Empowered Women that You Should be Following on Twitter

Originally posted by Sarah Gerrity on CIPE’s Development Blog on March 1, 2012.

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus – we’ve all heard that before. It’s no secret that the men and women are treated differently, but when it comes down to the heart of the matter, women are just as capable of success, if not more so, than their galactic counterparts.

With International Women’s Day fast approaching, CIPE is highlighting ways to help the movement for women’s empowerment. CIPE’s programs approach women’s empowerment through institutional reform, economic and political empowerment, and working with partner organizations to look beyond financial assistance – by helping women build leadership and business skills, CIPE focuses on preparing women for participation, whether they’re running a business, advocating legislative reforms, or simply making the world a better place for taking care of their families.

Continue reading ‘20 Empowered Women that You Should be Following on Twitter’ »

Analyzing Returns on Investing in Women

Cartoon by Laura Noreikaite, Lithuania from the
CIPE Global Editorial Cartoon Competition


Women are the ultimate drivers of their own empowerment, but there are many things the private sector can do to facilitate their progress.

In The Business of Empowering Women, McKinsey & Company researchers examine what companies can do to contribute to women’s empowerment at every stage of a woman’s life, “from infancy through adolescence, income readiness, employment, entrepreneurship, and ultimately to financial security and leadership.” They make many suggestions, including enabling access to safe on-site childcare for employees, supporting scholarships for girls, and providing vocational and business-skills training.

Continue reading ‘Analyzing Returns on Investing in Women’ »

The Role of Advocacy in Building Democracies that Deliver for Women

Originally posted on CIPE’s Development Blog by Jon Custer on Februrary 29, 2012

CIPE has long recognized the value of business associations to articulate and advocate for the interests of entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Women entrepreneurs and business owners face many of the same regulatory, legal, and policy issues as businesses headed by men. However, despite driving much of the world’s economic growth, women also face unique obstacles that hinder their participation in the economy, especially in leadership roles. Of the world’s 500 largest companies, only 13 (less than 3%) have a female chief executive officer.

In this week’s Economic Reform Feature Service article, senior director of La Pietra Coalition Sandra Taylor talks about how the strategies of collective action and advocacy can be used to increase women’s economic opportunities and make democracies more responsive to their citizens. “Non-profits, government, businesses, and the public can make substantially greater progress in alleviating many serious and complex social problems if they join around a common agenda,” she writes. “When we work together to accomplish a similar goal we can be very powerful and have a real collective impact.”

Article at a glance:

  • For democracy to deliver for women around the world, women’s voices must be heard on policy and regulatory issues that affect them at the local, national, and increasingly, the global level.
  • Women’s business associations, networks, and coalitions are important vehicles for political, economic, and social empowerment.
  • The focus on creating economic opportunity for women is key not only to women’s empowerment but to the democratic and economic development of countries.

With International Women’s Day approaching on March 8, we will be focusing for the next week on women’s issues here on the blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter @cipeglobal. Tomorrow: 20 Empowered Women You Should Be Following on Twitter.