Fifteen years after the U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan began, it feels as if many of the same problems persist. Thousands of Afghans have been made jobless as military bases have closed across the country and development and foreign assistance programs have been reduced or have ended; the National Unity Government continues to be paralyzed by political infighting and rampant corruption; and a resurgent Taliban have threatened to overrun several provincial capitals and have orchestrated a number of terrorist attacks across the country, including in Kabul. Despite these worrying trends, the Afghan people have made significant progress since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001. Basic services such as electricity and running water were unavailable even in Kabul during the years of Taliban rule, and have now spread throughout the country. Trips between cities that used to take days due to unpaved roads can now be completed in hours. Prior to October 2001, making an international call involved traveling across the border to Pakistan. Today, almost 85% of the population has mobile phone coverage, according to a 2012 USAID assessment.
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This past September was my second time visiting Papua New Guinea (PNG), known as “the land for opportunity.” From my experiences there, this phrase is no exaggeration. PNG is a country full of untapped (natural) resources, talents, and compassionate people who love their country and are devoted to their families. But, despite these advantages, gender inequality is crippling development in PNG.
Driving around town in Port Moresby, you can see street vendors selling all sorts of locally made goods and products. At a recently established Market Expo, you can purchase beautiful “bilum bags” and coffee beans, among other items, from the highland regions that are unique to PNG. But these products have untold stories behind them in that many were handmade by women whose meager income is solely dedicated to supporting her family while her spouse’s income is not shared. When and if the family is taken care of, these women are left with nothing else to spend, undercutting their independence and leaving them vulnerable to their spouses’ abuse.
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Women from the Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry participating in a capacity building workshop
Since its creation in 1983, CIPE has been working with business associations, chambers of commerce and economic think tanks around the world to promote institutional reforms and advance economic and political empowerment.
Women business associations are one type of business associations that CIPE has partnered with in order to support the economic empowerment of women. Recognizing the unique role such organizations play, CIPE has focused on strengthening women business associations and thus empowering women to become entrepreneurs and leaders in their local communities and countries.
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Posted on27 September, 2016byCIPE Staff|Comments Off on Democracy that Delivers Podcast #35: Jennifer Anderson on the Economy in Pakistan and Holding the Government Accountable
Podcast guest Jenny Anderson (center) with hosts Julie Johnson and Ken Jaques
On the Democracy that Delivers podcast this week, CIPE Program Officer for South Asia Jennifer Anderson talks about the economy in Pakistan and holding the government accountable for delivering on its economic promises. Anderson discusses the crucial link between successful implementation of economic reforms and citizen support for the civilian government and democracy. She shares the view expressed by some in Pakistan that “entrepreneurship is dead” and why a number of aspiring Pakistani business people feel this way. Anderson also discusses the new registration process required for international and domestic NGOs to operate in the country. The show closes with Anderson sharing her story of how helping a friend cope with the tragedy of the Rwandan genocide changed her world view and got her started on her international development career.
Posted on13 September, 2016byCIPE Staff|Comments Off on Democracy that Delivers Podcast #33: Camelia Bulat and Carmen Stanila on Helping Business Associations Around the World with Policymaking and Advocacy
Podcast guests Carmen Stanila (far left) and Camelia Bulat (second right) with hosts Ken Jaques and Julie Johnson
In this week’s Democracy That Delivers podcast, CIPE consultants Camelia Bulat and Carmen Stanila talk about working with the private sector and business associations on public policy development and advocacy. They discuss their early work in Romania and later in the Balkans, Moldova, and the Caucuses, and the challenges of managing citizen expectations when countries transition to democratic, free market systems. Bulat and Stanila also talk about how they were able to transfer early lessons learned in Romania to projects elsewhere, and the surprising similarity between the issues and priorities facing business associations all over the world.
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Posted on28 June, 2016byGuest|Comments Off on Associations Must Innovate to Survive Digital Disruption
By Octavio Peralta
Digital disruption is turning the world on its head, and presenting opportunities as well as threats, to associations, chambers, societies, non-profits, and other membership organizations. As relationships develop online and social media opens up new ways to be part of many communities, many associations are faced with the prospect of having a less tightly-bound group or worse, losing their membership. On the other hand, greater connectivity leads to new models of membership and network collaborations.
The Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) www.pcaae.org will tackle this burning issue and other related topics designed to share association professionals’ and experts’ insights in creating innovative ways to deal with shifts in the digital age.
With the theme “Race to Innovation: Winning in the Age of Disruption,” the PCAAE Associations Summit 4 (AS4) is expected to draw about 200 association professionals here and abroad. The two-day summit is slated for November 23 to 24, 2016 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila, and will feature local and international speakers who will share best practices in association and membership organization governance, leadership and management.
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One of the exciting initiatives I’m leading here at CIPE is to support our partners become better equipped with low-cost online or mobile tools that could improve their operations or programs. Our network of partners do tremendous work – whether that’s developing business and leadership skills in young Peruvians from across the country or igniting debates on economic policies in Nepal – often in challenging environments with limited budgets.
Their work would be even more powerful if they had knowledge on latest technology tools that could make their work more efficient – and that’s where my initiative comes in. We assess the technological environment in which our partners operate, and try to understand in what areas they are looking to enhance their capacity. Based on this information, CIPE worked with our technical expertise partner, Panoply Digital, to support the growth of our partners by equipping them with useful technologies that would make their work more productive.
To this end, CIPE and Panoply Digital led a workshop in Lagos back in February. We trained the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN), a collation of women’s business and professional associations in Nigeria. ANWBN is in midst of preparing to develop a national business agenda, a set of policy reform recommendations to address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, and they reached out to CIPE to learn tech tools that could add value during this process.
In this month’s Feature Service article, I explain the main takeaways from CIPE’s experience working with ANWBN to improve the coalition members’ ability to lead technology-enabled advocacy efforts for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This included:
ANWBN operates in a very challenging and frustrating technological environment, including low bandwidth, limited access to connectivity, and frequent power outages
All ANWBN members used mobile services and used tem as part of their business communication
Because advocacy is the main upcoming activity for ANWBN, the strategies focused on teaching ANWBN members with applicable tools that would feed into its national business agenda process, including data collection, research, and communications
The CIPE Development Blog provides coverage of the Center for International Private Enterprise and its partner network at work -- highlighting successes, drawing out lessons from failure, and exploring the broader issues of political and economic development. For more information visit CIPE.org.