Pemba – Thirty women entrepreneurs from Pemba today concluded 13-weeks of specialized training in business and entrepreneurship funded by the U.S. government through its Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program. U.S. Embassy Ambassador Michael Battle congratulated the women and urged them to use what they learned to continue building successful businesses. The graduation ceremony was also attended by Minister of State President’s Office Labor, Economy, and Investment -Zanzibar Honorable Mudrick Ramadhan Soraga, Southern Pemba Regional Commissioner Hon. Salama Mbarouk Khatib, District Commissioner of Chake Chake District Hon. Abdalla Rashid Ali, Coordinator of Pemba Public Library Mr. Ahmed Amour, and many other distinguished guests.
AWE is a global initiative of the U.S. government seeking to promote women’s economic empowerment with the goal of helping 50 million women worldwide fulfill their economic potential. AWE is committed to providing women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to turn their ideas into reality.
Speaking to the graduates during the ceremony, Ambassador Battle described the impact of the training that AWE provides. “These 13 weeks of training have provided you with the practical skills to create sustainable businesses, as well as a network of mentors and like-minded entrepreneurs in the United States,” he said.
He further added that empowering women economically is the fastest way to change society. “Women have a strong multiplier effect on the wider community because when women succeed, they are more likely to invest their earnings into their families and their communities, paying for things like their children’s education and health care. The economic benefits of your accomplishments support future generations. Your creativity is already having an impact on the society and the economy of Tanzania,” he said.
The Pemba cohort is the tenth group of women to participate in AWE. Other groups of women have participated in Dar es Salaam, Iringa, Zanzibar, Mwanza, Dodoma, Mbeya, Bagamoyo, Kigoma, and Kagera
Through a partnership with the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), entrepreneurs participating in the AWE program are eligible for additional seed funds from USADF ranging up to $20,000 to expand their businesses.
The U.S. Embassy partners with Selfina to implement the AWE program in Tanzania. Founded in 2002 by Dr. Victoria Kisyombe, Selfina is a pioneer of micro-credit in Tanzania through micro-leasing with particular attention to widows and young girls. In the past 19 years SELFINA has economically empowered more than 31,000 women through an active revolving fund. Over 300,000 lives have been impacted through the benefits accrued. Women are now owners of their own businesses and more than 150,000 jobs have been created.