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ICAWED Hosts Graduation Ceremony for Professional Development Certification Training Program Graduates

On December 16, 2015 ,The International Center for Afghan Women's Economic Development (ICAWED) at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF)  held its graduation ceremony, honoring  students from first and second cycle of its Professional Development Certification Training Program (PDCTP) at the university's international campus.

The event was attended by Ms. Fawzia Kofi, Member of the Afghan Parliament, Mr. Muhammad Qurban Haqjo, President of Afghanistan Investment Support Agency(AISA) , Mr. Abdul Rahim Saieedi , Director General Private Sector  Development at the Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ms. Rahima Zarifi, Policy and Planning Director of Ministry of Women Affairs, representatives from international organizations, civil society, and business women.

The event commenced with the recitation of Holy Quran and Afghanistan's National Anthem followed by the welcoming remarks by Ms Zakia Soleiman , Executive Director of ICAWED. Ms. Soleiman highlighted the importance of program and said that the program provides women with a foundation for career advancement and business growth.

" This training not only will help Afghan women improve their business acumen, but it also offer support in taking their products and ideas to the market," said Ms. Soleiman.

Dr. Mark English, President of American University of Afghanistan, congratulated the graduates of the program and said  "ICAWED is committed to educating and preparing promising female entrepreneurs today, while advocating for policy solutions to shape tomorrow." He added that AUAF will continue its initiatives toward the economic development of women.

In her speech, Ms. Fawzia Kofi, expressed her gratitude to ICAWED for capacity building  initiatives for empowering women.

" One cannot  become a business women in a week or a  month, it needs continuous learning and  focus on professional development courses," said Ms. Kofi. "Government should help business women get their products to international markets."

Mr. Haqjo, spoke about the challenges women face in business and said that security, illiteracy and lack of  access to financial loans are the problems women entrepreneurs face. He suggested that  governmental and non-governmental banks should  provide  loans to business women without interest. He spoke about  12 new industrial parks in Kabul province,  where 30% of the land is allocated to women entrepreneurs.

Following all the speeches, students crossed the stage one by one as their names were called, receiving their certificates from Dr. English, Ms. Soleiman, Ms. Kofi and Mr. Haqjo.

ICAWED launched PDCTP in April 2015 , after holding a series of round table discussions with business women in different provinces of Afghanistan, and considering their needs for professional development. PDCTP had 62 women entrepreneurs from different business sectors, who successfully completedcourses such as, Women in Business Management/Leadership, Business Planning, Branding & Packaging, Principles of Accounting/Financial Management and Communications and Public Awareness Strategy.