Bibi Khadija Award was launched on November 19, 2015 for the first time on the occasion of International Women Entrepreneur’s Day. This year the awards were considered for 15 businesswomen from both Kabul and provinces. The application form for competitive award was open for two months (September-October 2020) in 33 provinces of the country and by deadline; more than 56 applications from 20 provinces were received. The selection committee, composed of the representatives from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, AWCCI and Afghanistan International Bank. The committee reviewed the applications and as a result, 15 top struggling businesswomen from 9 provinces meeting the criteria were selected as 2020 awardees. Beside that there were 6 honorary awardees for their highest level of support to women’s economic empowerment.
Sixth Bibi Khadija Annual Award Ceremony was held on December 28, 2020 at the Kabul Serena. The event had the honor of presence of H.E. Minister of Economy Dr. Karima Faryabi, H. E. Senior Advisor of National Reconciliation Council Mr. Mustafa Mastoor, H.E. Denmark Ambassador Ms. Mette Knudson, H.E. Ms. Shinkai Karokhel member of parliament, H.E. Abdul Karim Malikyar Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ms. Zuhal Amarkhail H.E. First Lady’s Chief of Staff and AIB’s representative Mr. Abeer Hamza and other national and international dignitaries and more than 200 businesswomen from Kabul and 15 other provinces.
At first, the event started with recitation of Holy Quran. Subsequently, the National Anthem played by Afghanistan National Institute of Music. Afterwards, Ms. Afsana Rahimi officially begun the program with a welcome note to all dignitaries and guests.
Among the keynote speeches first H.E. First Lady’s video message was played. Afterwards the Minister of Economy H.E. Dr. Karima Faryabi thanked Ms. Manizha Wafeq and AWCCI’s leadership for holding sixth Bibi Khadija Award Ceremony and continued to her speech speaking about women’s economic empowerment. She once again appreciated AWCCI for holding this program and she expressed her best wishes for AWCCI and awardees of Bibi Khadija. She also added that AWCCI is one of the entities credible to the President and Afghan Government and it is carrying out important work for businesswomen in the country. Afterwards H.E. Dr. Mustafa Mastoor spoke on the importance of peace and importance of role of women in various aspects of a society. He emphasized on the programs he had started designing at the Ministry of Economy to ensure empowerment of women at homes especially in rural areas. H.E. Ms. Karokhel spoke and emphasized on the importance of women’s economic independence. Then, H.E. Danish Ambassador Mette Knudson spoke and ensured international partners cooperation to women’s empowerment in Afghanistan. In continuation Mr. Abeer Marketing Director of Afghanistan International Bank spoke about Bank services for private sectors.
Award main categories were 1. Competitive 2. Honorary. Honorary Awards are given to those (men and women) who served women’s economic empowerment and women entrepreneurs’ development in the country or those women who were not in business but are highly accomplished and can be a role model for other Afghan women. Fifteen Competitive awardees receives awards in 5 categories which are: 1. Started an innovative venture, 2. Have entered the male dominant sectors, 3. Have run her business successfully for more than 5 years, 4. Have created more jobs, and 5. have started a service business for other women and women business owners.
In the fifth Bibi Khadija Award Ceremony 15 businesswomen from provinces including Kabul were selected by monitoring committee based on the specific criteria. Competitive Awardees were:
- Ms. Rubabba Rassoly Director of World Torism Company Kabul,
- Ms. Samira Sadat the founder of Saaf Sutra Company Kabul,
- Ms. Hasina Zayefi CEO of Akaam Zayefi Company Kabul,
- Ms. Kamela Sultani President of Radio Jaghori Ghazni,
- Ms. Malalai Mubarez a restaurant Chief Jozjan,
- Ms. Suraya Noori the president of Etemaad Company Balkh,
- Ms. Maria Azami Director of Women Handicraft Company Samangan,
- Ms. Suraya Ahmadi CEO of Durukhshan Company Balkh,
- Ms. Suraya Daqeeq CEO of Saffron Company Herat,
- Ms. Homaira Azimi CEO of Malika Suraya Restaurant Farah,
- Ms. Ghezala Noori Bait Afzar Technology Company Herat,
- Ms. Mariam Shiekh CEO of Herat Women Silk Production Company Herat,
- Ms. Sediqa Sediq the founder of ladies educational and artistic community Helmand,
- Ms. Razia Haidari the founder of Negin Asia Embroidery and Armaghan jam factory Kandahar
- Ms. Lida ahmadi creator of soap factory Kabul.
Besides competitive awardees, 7 men and women who played key roles in businesswomen economic empowerment and development received honorary awards by AWCCI board of Directors. The Honorary Awardees of sixth Bibi Khadija Award ceremony were:
- Mr. Abdul Karim Malikyar Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, who previously served as Director General of legal affairs supported the women’s chamber in the Chamber Law.
- Ms. Mohsena Saqeb Founder, CEO, and designer of Jamah Saqeb handicraft Production Company also a member of AWCCI’s Board of Directors and Deputy of women’s clothing companies association in Kabul city for mentoring over 50 women entrepreneurs of the Northern provinces.
- Ms. Wajeeha Daud Zai Shaheen Vice President of women’s entrepreneurs association in Kabul besides she served women of Kabul districts in her official job at CARE International,
- Nazira Hamid and Shabeer Hamid CEO of Gawhar publishing institute and Gahwarah Kindergarten in Kabul that best served for working parents specially working mothers in providing flexible timing and publishing story books for children in national languages which were missing for a number of years.
- Ms. Lailoma Abawi the founder of Taranom style Clothing Company and Chair of Clothing Association of AWCCI and her strong leadership led to the association’s establishment and successfully finalizing documentations for a contract with the National Procurement Authority and the Ministry of Defense.
- Mr. Tawakal Ahmadyar CEO of Ahmadyar group of companies and Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment that always supported AWCCI and its efforts not only for Afghan women entrepreneurs but also the women of south Asian region.
- Mr. Abdul Qayom Rahimi Former Governor of Herat province whose strong support ensured AWCCI’s and Herat women entrepreneurs presence in the Provincial Development Committee meetings and as well as getting a separate office building on rent from the government.
At the end of ceremony, Ms. Manizha Wafeq CEO and the founder of Bibi Khadija Award thanked and mentioned for the good financial support of Afghanistan International Bank for the last 4 years. Furthermore, Bibi Khadija revolving fund by AIB was launched in this program last year. The mentioned entity provides special loan packages to women entrepreneurs.
Besides the Bibi Khadija Award Ceremony, an exhibition of businesswomen products was organized and attendees visited at the end of the program.
AWCCI is wholeheartedly thankful to AIB for sponsoring this award and prizes to women business owners.
Bibi Khadija Award Ceremony ended by taking a group photo and having evening meal.