On March 8, 2020, Harakat signed an MoU with Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI) on Women’s Business Innovation and Acceleration Hubs (WBIAH) and Women Entrepreneurs Database and Skills Training. The MoU singing ceremony was held in the Ministry of Urban Development and Land (MULD). The event was attended by Harakat’s and AWCCI leadership as well as representative from MULD. The MoU was signed by Mr. Noor Alam Hakimyar, Harakat’s CEO, and Ms. Manizah Wafeq, Co-founder and President of AWCCI. This is one the Harakat’s short-term projects. The project aims to increase women’s markets effectiveness and promote women’s businesses. According to this project, at least six non-functional women markets will be operationalized in Kabul, Balkh, Herat, Kandahar and Nangarhar. Harakat, through this project, will functionalize these markets and provide the start-up and scale-up support. The first thing will be renaming these places from Women’s Markets to Women’s Business Innovation and Acceleration Hubs. Then, these markets will be reformed and rebranded with new units and institutional documents such as operational plan and providing training to women and supervising them to run these hubs sustainably, efficiently and effectively. These markets will serve as a designing, packaging, training centre, a permanent exhibition, sales venue for women’s products, a meeting place for buyers and sellers, a distinct address for women’s handmade products and a business to business matching centre. Also, Harakat and its implementing partner (AWCCI) will conduct market demand-driven skills training for more than 200 women entrepreneurs in five economic zones. The training will be on financial management, packaging, labeling, branding, marketing, business planning, quality standards and certifications, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and leadership. Moreover, this project entails enhancement of women entrepreneurs’ national database. This will improve and expand the existing database with new features and types of information on both formal and informal women business owners in the country. Also, Data Clarks will be recruited and trained to collect, analyse and enter data into the database. Both AWCCI and MULD thanked and commended Harakat for this important initiative. Ms. Manizah Wafeq said, “On 8 of March, which is the International Women’s Day, we are taking a great step toward enabling women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan. This project will benefit all Afghan women.” MULD representative, Ms. Sahar Hamdard, said, “We are happy for being partner and work with Harakat and AWCCI in this important project. The MULD is ready to rent lands for women markets in a very less price.” On behalf of Harakat, Mr. Noor Alam Hakimyar talked about the project and said, “We hope this project will help women entrepreneurs.” He added, “In the new phase of Harakat, we have a specific pillar for women, which is Women Economic Inclusion (WEI). This shows Harakat’s commitment in improving women’s businesses in Afghanistan.

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