3rd Annual Bibi Khadija Award Ceremony
Date of Program: 28th Dec, 2017
Location: Kabul Serena Hotel
Partner and Donor: Afghanistan International Bank
Conductor: Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Third Annual Bibi Khadija Award ceremony was held on 28th December, 2017 in Kabul Serena Hotel to honor women entrepreneurs and men who are supporters of women’s economic development. In this occasion, H.E. the First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Ms. Rula Ghani, the President and one of the founders of AWCCI, and the founder of Bibi Khadija Award, Ms. Manizha Wafeq, the Acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Ms. Nargis Nehan, Deputy Minister of Commerce, Ms. Kamila Sidiqi, a very successful Afghan woman entrepreneur, Ms. Ghazaal Saadat, AWCCI members, Advocates and Media participated.
The program is hosted by the Vice-Chair of board of Directors of AWCCI, Ms. Parwarish Oryakhail and the Marketing Manager of AIB, Mr. Abeer Hamza. They welcomed the guests and started the program by inviting one of the guest, Ms. Spozhmay Oryakhail, for the recitation of few verses of the Holy Quran. Then Ms. Parwarish Oryakhail gave brief information about the AWCCI.
Subsequently, Ms. Manzhia welcomed all the participants especially First Lady, Ms. Nehan, Ms. Kamila Sidiqi, Ms. Ghazaal Saadat and all the other guests. She added about the Award, “the trips I had outside of country I have observed that they have awarded their people to honor their good performance in business, and we didn’t have anything like that in Afghanistan. As Bibi Khadija was one of successful business women in Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) promoted her business, thus we also named this award by the name of Bibi Khadija”. And a video was played to better introduce the Bibi Khadjia award. Ms. Wafeq also mentioned that, “two of our special guests tonight are H.E. Bibi Jan who has always been a supporter of AWCCI and Ms. Ghazaal Saadat who has traveled from a long way and is a successful businesswoman”.
First Lady of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Bibi Jan expressed her condolence for the attack on Tebyan Cultural Center where several killed and/or injured. She added that, “we all are very tired of this situation and I hope that the New Year begins with peace and prosperity”. She added, “I am very happy that tonight we have gathered here to introduce successful businesswomen and praise their work and achievements. I am glad that I participated in the recognition and appreciation of best businesswomen who are being awarded the Bibi Khadija Award. Afghan women, just like being a good mother, a good spouse and a dignified daughter of their families, have been able to be courageous in various fields. The trips I had have to the foreign countries, the very first question I have been asked was if the women’s condition has changed. Do women have a prominent role in society? I say, because of the security situation in Afghanistan the presence of Afghan women in different field is rare. But today I can clearly say that Afghan women are more capable. They are teachers, police officers, doctors, employees which is a great economic achievement. Before, women were mostly in the corner, but now they have prominent role which indicates they are the mind changers of people. AWCCI is an important step for businesswomen and at the end, I would congratulate all the awardees of Bibi Khadija”.
Ms. Manizha Wafeq introduced the two important sections of the award; the first section is honorary and the second is competitive. In Honorary section, men and women who support women are identified and honored. In competitive section, number of women nominate themselves in five categories and through a committee, candidates are evaluated and 5 successful women receive this award.
Those who received Bibi Khadija Award in Honorary section are:
Ms. Nargis Nehan, Ms. Hasina Safi, Ms. Ghazaal Saadat, Mr. Tariq Ahmad Sarfaraz, Ms. Amina Ahmadi, Laila Samani and Omar Omari.
H.E. Ms. Nargis Nehan, the acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, has worked in different government posts. She has worked as a Director General of Treasury Department at the Ministry of Finance, Vice Chancellor of Kabul University at the Administration and Finance Department, Senior Administration and Finance Advisor to the Minister of Education, and Senior Planning and Coordination Advisor to the Ministry of Higher Education.
In addition to that, Ms. Nehan has led successful reforms of the Treasury Department at the Ministry of Finance. These reforms included the centralization of collecting government revenues and expenditures of 34 provinces, the establishment of a Treasury Single Account, monthly meetings with the Central Bank, digitalization of the government financial management system, weekly revenue and expenditure reporting to the cabinet, and the establishment of Fiduciary Standards to monitor the reform of the Ministries’ financial performance.
Besides, she completed trail of payroll through mobile services, leading the process of transferring Law and LOTFA program to Afghan government. Revising institutional and structural of Ministry of Education and revising four-phase MOI contracts in ministry of Interior Affair. In addition she identified 16000 unreal worker in the Ministry of Education, and establishment of NGO called “Equality for Peace and Democracy”.
In her speech Ms. Nehan said, “I congratulate all businesswomen who received the Bibi Khadija Award. As an Afghan woman, I would say that the Unity Government help a lot women in different fields. A very good example is the establishment of Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce. Second, it has been two years that it launched women’s economic empowerment program, which has been put in action by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in 34 provinces of Afghanistan to empower women in economic section. Third presence of women in Peace High Council. Establishment of AWCCI is a great achievement. As number of opportunities has increased. We must take them all on hand all. But how shall we make use of them? Women must have an effective role in society and increase their capacity so we would say “NO” to all injustices.
- Hasina Safi, Director of Afghan Women Network and Advisor at Peace High Council, has more than 20 years of work experience. She has participated in several national and international conferences. She believe on educations. Ms. Safi also thanked while receiving this award.
- Ghazaal Saadat is a successful Afghan businesswomen and is the owner of Oxygen water, cosmetic product line called Gaga, chain of restaurants, and is working on beauty clinic. In future she aims to establish an institutions for girls.
- Tariq Ahmad Sarfaraz, Director of Afghanistan Central Business Registry and Intellectual Property (CBR), has 3 master degrees, one in Law, one in Development Management and the other in Business Administrations. He has worked in various government positions. At AISA, he has 10 years of experience in developing rural and private sectors. He is good advisor in each field. Mr. Sarafaraz also thanked by receiving his award.
- Amina Ahmadi, She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from American University of Afghanistan in 2015 and bachelor’s degree from the Economics Faculty of Kabul University in 2010.
She worked in Afghanistan Planning Directorate (APD) at Ministry of Finance (MoF) as Manager of Analysis and Forecasting of Custom Duty and later in the same year the Medium Taxpayers Office (MTO) as a Manager of NGOs.
She also worked as Non-Tax Revenue (NTR) Director, Director of Small Taxpayers Office (STO), she implemented the Tax Assessment Project in Districts of Kabul which increased 1 Billion/AFS in the total revenue.
Based on her proven track record in bringing effective reforms in STO, Miss. Ahmady was assigned as the Director of Medium Taxpayers (MTO) in October 2015 to bring much needed reforms in MTO to improve transparency in tax collection from medium taxpayers. Over the last two year she has brought significant reforms in the department which has considerably improved standardization and transparency in tax collection from medium taxpayers.
- Laila Samani, is currently Advisor in the Ministry of Information and Culture. In a book written by Ms. Lora Bush named: WE are Afghan Women Voice of Hope” she introduced among 28 Afghan women who abled to change women life in the society, she started working as a lecturer in one of the Teachers Training Centers, and worked in different field as, Assistant of Afghan Youth Arrangement, Director of Afghanistan Youth Organ, from Vice-President to Director of Khaharan Afghan Movement, Director of Afghan New Idea innovation organization and in charge of social supporter department. She run her own business as well and is the Director of “Morawrid Dorkhshan” Company, beside of that she is also and is Board of Directors member at AWCCI.
- Omar Omari is the Vice-Chair of the Afghanistan International Bank. In his speech, he said that AIB, as the largest bank in Afghanistan, aims for a bright Afghanistan and believe on women abilities. All those who have account in our bank, are like our family. We have offered loan packages of 7 – 35 Millions Afghani to market for the month of December year 2017 and as time was limited, AIB decided to extend it to February 2018. Interested companies can visit AIB and we willing to work with them in this regards.
In this occasion, Ms. Kamila Seddiqi was also invited and she stated that the word “entrepreneur” is taken from innovation and action, and I think the innovation of founding Bibi Khadija Award is one of them. I congratulate Ms. Manizha Wafeq and all her colleagues for this innovation. The Unity government believes a lot on us (women) and we should make use of this opportunity. We should not encourage just a few, instead we should grow them and let them change their small businesses to medium and medium to large scales. And encourage women to work on huge investments. For New Year, we should have an announcement or plan of changing 20 small businesses to medium. I declare my support to AWCCI and to those who want to start business but make sure if this business is a need of society.
In the second section of award, which was competitive, five successful women entrepreneurs of 2017 were introduced.
- Afsana Rahimi Hakima Zolfiqari 3. Hameeda Lisani 4. Mariam Jami Al-Ahmadi 5. Somaya Rezai
- Afsana Rahimi: President of Shayar Media and Advertising Co.
She worked 10 years for a Kellid Group of Group of Companies (a media outlet with Radio and print media in Afghanistan). After gaining much experience she started her own business in 2014 in the service sector, namely providing media ads a male dominated sector Shayar Media and Advertising Co. Afsana directly employs 10 people and provide some financial support to 34 people in 34 province. She has coached and trained many students about the job they wanted to take on the business they wanted to start.
In her speech, she also thanked AWCCI and added, “I have two role models in my business career; first one is Ms. Ayoubi who is best example for women that shows women can be businesswomen and can lead media in a good way. And the Second is Ms. Manizha Wafeq whose hard work and persistence fulfils many women’s desires.
- Hakima Zolfiqari: President of Green Organic Agriculture Company
Ms. Zolfaghari is a graduate Veterinary faculty. Ms. Zolfighari, having six years of experience in organic fertilizer production, started her work in 2012 with less than 10 kilograms of garbage feeding worms. At the same time, she also participated in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program through which, a year later, she was able to get assistance of procuring manufacturing machinery and 400 Kgs of worms for making compost from USAID funded projects, ABADE and IDEA-NEW.
Eventually, Ms. Zolfaghari began her business this way, and Mrs. Hakim’s work in her company is an agricultural and industrial activity that is carried out by an earthworm, and these worms feed on the waste materials with organic sources. The role of worm in this activity is the conversion off organic matter into one of the best agricultural organic fertilizer. This fertilizer, in addition to having enough and suitable food, is rich in beneficial agricultural micro-organisms. She has also participated in Peace through Business Program in 2013. Ms. Hakima’s goal and plan in the future are to work on local systems and the production of vermicompost (fertilizer), the treatment of sewage water for the production of vermicompost and use of water for agriculture sector for which we should invest heavily.
- Hamida Lesani: President of Empowered Women’s Organization
Ms. Hamida Lesany has got her bachelor in Journalism from Kabul University and Masters in Political Science from Payam-e-Noor University. She started her business in 2016 by establishment an organization called “Empowerment women”. The goal of this organization is to help women in the provinces and in the capital who are marginalized and who have been living in underprivileged conditions, and to show women’s presence in politics which was also her dissertation topic. She hosts a program on one of Afghan TV Channels, “Raahe Farda” which also shows the strength, courage and progress of active women. Ms. Lesany is a practical person and doesn’t want to be someone with just words and no action.
In her words by receiving Bibi Khadija Award she thanked from AWCCI and said, “these kind of awards give us more energy and potential to proceed our work very keenly once again thank you AWCCI and all its members”.
- 4. Maryam Jamiul Ahmadi: Maryam Jami founded Bano Production, Processing and Packaging Agricultural Products Company in 2009 and has 17 years of experience in the field of agriculture, cultivation, processing and packaging of food materials, vegetables and fruits. She has done her bachelors in Law and Political Sciences. Ms. Jami has established an agricultural farm of 70 acres of land where she covers 31 women and 14 men. She has also established a processing center for agricultural products. Bano’s products include prickles, jam, canned beans, dried fruits and vegetables, honey, 2 local varieties of rice and different kinds of vegetables and medicinal plants.
Bano’s Objectives are:
- Job creation/provision of job opportunities for women and men, and for economic development of poor families
- Creation/Foundation of agricultural economic chain from production to consumer inside Afghanistan and trade of quality agricultural products.
- Increasing domestic production of agricultural products for the economic development of Afghanistan
She and her business are based in Herat and Ms. Laila Samani received her award on her behalf.
- Somaya Rezai: Somaya Rezaei has received a bachelor’s degree in law and political science from the University of Kabul. During her studies at university, she began to establish a factory of finely-fermented food because of the interest and the little experience she had in production of industrial bread during her immigration period.
Currently around 3500 to 4000 packs of different products are produced and distributed to local market per day. The fine food has been able to cover numerous customers such as the KamAIr Company, well-known restaurants of Kabul (Barg Resturant, Jumeirah Resturant, and Master Cook), fast food stores (Finest Superstore, Spinneys) and local shops in Kabul. She is also planning to establish a branch of Fine Food in one of the provinces and serve in the economic development of the society that way. In her speech, she thanked AWCCI and added, “AWCCI has always been as a supportive entity for Afghan businesswomen and is a lead for us to develop the economic growth”.
After Award presentation, Deputy Director General of National Procurement Administration Mr. Sohail Kakar was also invited in this vocation he said in his speech that, “our cooperation with all businesswomen has begun and we are trying to create more opportunities for women, and we have launched our training program to introduce the bidding procedures for companies and receive more projects from our department. Thus, we are cooperative with all companies in this regards and for more information, kindly visit our Facebook page”.
At the end, Ms. Manizha Wafiq said, “before serving dinner I would like to say that, as we have recently moved to our new building of AWCCI and in equipping it, two companies has helped us. One of them is Ms. Afsana Rahimi – Shayar Company president and the other is Mr. Aziz Nasiry president of Turbo Company who will receive Appreciation Letters from AWCCI”. Both of them thanked after receiving their Appreciation Letters.
Thank you from all of you.