After graduating from Sokoine University with her agribusiness degree, Fatuma Issa Mbaga was determined to put her new education to good use to open an agribusiness. When she first started her business less than a year ago with 70,000 Tanzanian Shillings, she sold one product—tea masala. Recognizing that she needed to diversify her small business, Fatuma sought outside resources to help her expand.
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International Women’s Day 2019: “Better the balance, better the world”
By David Hartingh, President and CEOIESC’s Home Office team bettering the balance.
Today, March 8, we celebrate…read more
By Carybeth Reddy and Aichata Mohamed SakoDiallo Sako runs a successful soap import company in Bamako, Mali.
In Mali’s capital of Bamako, Diallo Hawa Traore runs a soap company, one of the first in the city to sell gabakourouni, a special soap from Ivory Coast. She started the company more than a dozen years ago. Diallo’s wholesale and retail customers know…read more
The theme for International Women’s Day 2018 is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”
By Tom Miller, President and CEO
This Thursday, March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day. This year, it comes in the midst of what feels like a cultural tipping point. After a series of high-profile cases, the #MeToo movement has drawn attention to the heartbreaking prevalence of sexual harassment…read more
Let Women Show You Who They Are, and Change Will Happen
By Victoria Barone
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Tarana Amini, the human resources manager for IESC’s Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enterprises Program in Kabul. Tarana has been with the ABADE Program since it started in 2012. In 2016, IESC honored her with the Tarek Nabhan International Achievement Award, which recognizes team members in the field who…read more
by Riamny Méndez
Narcisa Bautista recalls that in 1981, when she began working as a secretary at a produce export business in La Vega, Dominican Republic, there were no women in charge of such export companies.
Eighteen years later, when Narcisa became owner of the same company at which she began as a secretary, there were still no women in charge of similar companies. Narcisa grew her career and developed leadership skills in a…read more
Workforce Development for Women in Nigeria Requires a Cultural Shift
By Udunopa Abalu
One day while visiting my native country Nigeria over the holidays, I was out with some friends in Abuja, and I saw a large billboard advertising Maggi seasoning. The Nigerian-made bouillon cubes are often crumbled and sprinkled into dishes to make them more flavorful.
This billboard showed the image of a proud and smiling Nigerian woman on one…read more
By Julissa Almanzar
The smell of chocolate in the air is heady, even a bit distracting, as I sit down to talk with about 10 women who run Chocolala and Chocal, two factories in the northern Altamira region of Dominican Republic. They came together to tell the history of their businesses and how hard they have worked to build them, persevering despite significant personal and societal obstacles, and how their economic empowerment is in turn…read more
Haoua Cheick Seip, IESC volunteer expert, on assignment in Ampara, Sri Lanka, in 2011.
When Women Help Women, Entrepreneurs Thrive
By Marissa Germain
Women in West African cultures’some of which are historically matrilineal’hold positions of respect and strength. As the providers of shelter, food, wisdom, and comfort, they have often been called to firmly hold their communities together in the face of conflict and…read more
Amina Haidari coaches her civil servant counterpart in Kandahar DAIL.
For civil servants at the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture in Kandahar, learning new skills was an eye-opening experience.
Every morning, Amina Haidary arrives at work at the provincial agriculture office in Kandahar, where she has worked since 2012. Among her 76 colleagues, she is the only woman.
Haidary, who specializes in finance and administration,…read more
Sanogo Diarra owns a company that employs 22 women from her neighborhood.
Sanogo Diarra’s fruit processing company has created good jobs for women in her community
It was 2009, and Sanogo Diarra saw that women in her neighborhood needed jobs. More than that, they wanted jobs. And she wanted to help them. In Mali’s capital city of Bamako, she founded a company that processes dried fruits and vegetables.
With her…read more
Zakia Roshan is operations manager at Mazatoo Food Production, where sales have increased more than fivefold since the company received support from the ABADE Program.
Onsite production brings new jobs and a fivefold increase in sales
Most Afghans enjoy candy with their tea every day, so the market for the confection is strong. Strong enough for one candy-importing company to try producing it onsite.
For many years,…read more
Finding a Voice, Finding a Path
by Esther Lee
Najeba, a civil servant at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock in Kabul, Afghanistan.
As a recent transplant to the D.C area, I can’t help but feel like a small fish in a big pond from time to time. This city attracts the best and the brightest. It can be ruthlessly competitive ‘a harsh reality for someone from a relatively small town where, to a degree, I…read more
RACHA Executive Director Chan Theary Talks Women’s Empowerment
In Cambodia, IESC implements a program that is strengthening local NGOs. The CBCLO Program is led by a small team in Phnom Penh who are bolstered by expert consultants and volunteers who offer training on critical topics such as accounting and financial management, policy and planning, human resource management, and more.
Susan Gurley is an IESC volunteer expert with a wealth…read more
Saluting Unsung Champions, This International Women’s Day and Beyond
By IESC President and CEO Tom Miller
Dr. Shahla, gender director of IESC’s CBCMP-II Program.
Today we celebrate International Women’s Day. In many of the countries where we work, March 8 is a true holiday. Women receive flowers, gifts, and other expressions of honor and appreciation, and the IESC field offices participate in these celebratory…read more
The Far-Reaching Benefits of Women’s Economic Empowerment
By Aissata Traore
Nour Haddad’s* family struggled to make ends meet. With the average teacher’s salary in Lebanon around $900 a month, supporting a family of ten on her husband’s income alone was a challenge. Nour wanted to open a flower business to help support her family. But with limited resources, little family support, and a culture that reinforces women’s role as…read more
Jackie Howard (left) and Caroline Flowers (right) pose with their BBA diplomas.
In 2012, Caroline Flowers and Jackie Howard spotted a flyer at their university’a flyer that would shape the next three years of their college experience and beyond. It was a flyer was soliciting interns for IESC’s USAID-funded Investing for Business Expansion Program (IBEX), which provides business loan facilitation and technical assistance…read more
One woman’s journey from fearful speaker to confident leader
Najeba Karimi. Photo: USAID CBCMP-II
With a largely agricultural economy, Afghanistan is working to build up its institutions to better support the sector and the nation’s food security. In the process, women are finding new opportunities to develop professional skills and career paths.
When Najeba Karemi accepted a job with the Ministry of…read more