CIPE , (Center for International Private Enterprise), is a non-profit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy. CIPE provides management assistance, practical experience, and financial support to local organizations to strengthen their capacity to implement democratic and economic reforms.
Recently, CIPE invited a select group of ladies from South Asian women chambers to attend, a regional networking workshop, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This network included participants from major and emerging chambers of commerce and business associations in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.
It was an ongoing training program, with two meetings already held in Dhaka and Khatmandu. When Spwcci Multan was honored to be a part of it. Masooma Sibtain and Fariha Munir Shah of SPWCCI were invited in the third meeting, held in Lahore in October 2013. Similarly, during the latest meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea was taken on board for the first time. Janet Roland Sios and Koisen Lawyers were there to represent first female chamber of PNG.
From Pakistan, five eminent female business leaders were invited to become of this whole initiative. Aasia Saail Khan from Chamber of Commerce Lahore. Samina Fazil from Islamabad, Shamama Arbab from Peshawar. And as already mentioned, Fariha Munir Shah and Masooma Sibtain from South Punjab.
On 25th January 2014, all the five women were flown from their respective cities to Karachi. And from there, the deputy country director CIPE, Mr. Hammad Siddiqui took over the charge as custodian of these women and accompanied them on the same flight to Colombo.
The hospitality of Sri Lanka started at the airport. All the foreigners, entering the country were gifted free sims of local numbers. Something, which our Pakistani ladies were surprised and pleased to receive.
A coaster was already there to pick and drop these female representatives from Pakistan to Kingsbury, a beautiful 5 star hotel, near the beach, at Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 01. Where the stay for all the participants from South Asia was arranged.
26th January 2014: All the participants started their day with fabulous buffet breakfast at restaurant in the same hotel called 'Harbour Court' , which also offered fascinating view of the seascape.
The workshop started exactly at 9 am at Dorchester Meeting Room, on the 10th floor of the same hotel.
All the participants were first welcomed by Mr. Marc Schleifer the regional director Eurasia and South Asia, CIPE. Then Mr. Hammad Siddiqui took over the charge and started his usual discussion regarding the workshop and the educational benefits it had enstored for all these women. His words proved out to be inspiring, extremely motivational and encouraging, yet relaxing for all those, who had to give the presentations.
During the previous session at Lahore, all the participating chambers were assigned different presentations as home work. The participants had to share, what they had learnt at previous session and how they implemented all that in the working of their chambers, they had to demonstrate through presentations. Indeed a great way to develop confidence and capacity building, alongwith knowledge sharing.
It started with Masooma on top of the list for the presentation and she did a fantastic job. Then, one by one each chamber, representatives of the other chambers also delivered their presentations. Each chamber was given 15 minutes for the purpose, followed by some questions and answers, Selima Ahmed from Bangladesh and Dhavanti from India, remained active in questioning and inquiring.
Rita Bhandary from Nepal, Dr. Manju from India, Saroshi Dubash and Rezani Aziz from Sri Lanka, Damchae Dem from Bhutan were among the ones, alongwith their Pakistani counterparts to deliver the presentations. Whereas, Selima Ahmed and Sangita from Bangladesh, jointly presented theirs.
There were two, tea/coffee breaks and one lunch break, during the 9 to 5 sessions.
Later, the most esteemed trainers of CIPE Mr. Hammad Siddiqui, Mr. Marc F. Scheleifer and the most wonderful new addition in the company of these wizards, the program officer, South East Asia, the lovely Ms. Jennifer Anderson enlightened everybody with more knowledge, alongwith activities based, breakout sessions.
The youngest member of CIPE, Mr. Huzaifa Shabbir Hussain was also given an equal representation, which proved, how CIPE practices democracy, equally and fairly. Huzaifa conducted, one independent session and another one on 'Project budgeting, accounting and internal controls', with Mr. Marc Scheleifer.
The first day of workshop ended at 5pm. All the participants were informed to stay ready for the dinner, exactly at 7.30 pm and meet in the lobby, for the timely departure, together with the CIPE team.
The dinner on 26th was hosted by WCIC members, President Saroshi Dubash, Mumtaz Siriwardena and Kumari Parera, at the later's house. For some of the members, it was the first time in the entire day, to get out of the hotel and have a look at the city of Colombo. A highly appreciated chance, provided by CIPE and the members of WCIC, Sri-Lanka.
27th January 2014: The second day of workshop again started at 9 am, at the same hall, at the same hotel.
This was predominantly Mr. Hammad Siddiqui's show. From 9 am to 5 pm, the gentleman remained on his toes. Reaching out to the participants, lecturing about, ''Art of Communicating with Stakeholders''. Then holding another session after tea break, about, "Effective use of Social Media'' (focusing business associations). Undoubtedly, the best part of the two days of this workshop. Hammad demonstrated true effective methods of audio/ visual aids and kept the participants entertained, while enlightening them about the above mentioned topics.
After the lunch break, one after another, all the representatives/ trainers of CIPE, started with the key takeaways from previous sessions. And a group discussion, 'where we go from here', about future strategy for this Network was also organized.
Finally, all the participants were awarded certificates. And the workshop came to its completion at 5 pm. Again, the participants were told to stay ready at 7.30 pm, for another dinner in their honor by another WCIC member Mrs. Rifa Mustapha.
Rifa's husband is one of the ministers of Sri-Lanka and she is believed to be the next president of WCIC. That dinner served, as icing on the cake. Beautifully arranged by the smart and elegant lady, in the privacy of her own house. All the participants of the meeting were welcomed by the traditional Sri Lankan dancers at the reception of Rifa's house. The event served as a much desired catalyst of social interaction between the members of WCIC and all the other participants present at the meeting. And also dignitaries of American embassy, stationed in Colombo. The ambiance, the comfort and the food kept the members greatly entertained.
Not to forget the wonderful company of the vibrant, vivacious Sarrah Sammoon. The girl is a true fun filled soul, brimming with love and laughter. An extravaganza in a person. She made sure, all the participants get proper recreation. She even took the participants of this meeting, for tours around the happening places of Colombo city. Some of the pictures in this blogpost were also taken by this lovely girl. A big thanks to this to her for all that she has done for everybody.
At the end of Rifa's dinner, all the guests were presented packs of Ceylon tea, as tokens by the lady. Nobody seemed to be in a mood to return but Mr. Hammad Siddiqui displayed a responsible attitude and hushed everybody back to hotel. As some of the participants had to check out from the hotel the next day.
Most of the members, returned the very next day, as CIPE had generously provided them, two days and three nights stay in the beautiful Kingsbury hotel. But if they had to stay any longer, it had to be on their own expanse. All the five Pakistani women decided to spend another day and dedicated it to shopping and touring around the city of Colombo.
Another important and interesting information about Colombo city, which Mr. Hammad Siddiqui provided, was about availability of halaal meat. The government of Sri Lanka only gives contract of provision of meat/ Chicken to Muslims only, as they are actually who are concerned about 'Halaal' meat. It is one commendable and thoughtful act, which the whole world can follow.
Finally, all the five Pakistani participants returned, on 29th of January, in the company of the distinguished, Mr. Hammad Siddiqui, who kept on mentoring these ladies about the commitment to the cause CIPE is dedicated to. There also seemed in him the desire for his own country to excel in every field. His honesty and dedication is commendable.
Thanks a lot CIPE (Center for international private enterprise), for another extremely informative and educational event. You are all doing a great job, bringing South Asian women together. Educating, enlightening their minds. Opening new vistas of knowledge for them. Building bridges, developing bonds, helping increase of networking.
All the participants had great words of appreciation for all the efforts made by CIPE team, which is itself, a great example, perfect role model to follow, for all the institutions.
Once again, a lot of admiration for CIPE and all its team. And a special thanks to Mr. Hammad Siddiqui for recognizing SPWCCI, acknowledging its efforts and making it a part of this splendid group. SPWCCI recognizes, it is due to the efforts of this great man that SPWCCI has been able to spread its network in South Asia. Thanks a lot CIPE, thanks a lot Hammad!
|The journey began..|
Hammad Siddiqui as custodian of Pakistani female business leaders.
|On reaching Colombo airport, Fariha Munir Shah.|
|Arrival at Colombo, Samina Fazil President Islamabad chamber with Masooma.|
|Aasia Saail Khan from Lahore chamber at Colombo airport.|
|Shamama Arbab from Peshawar chamber.|
|Rita Bhandary at breakfast as well.|
|Selima Ahmed at breakfast.|
|Hammad inciting the participants, which ultimately made Marc smile as well.|
|Masooma Sibtain was first to deliver the presentation.|
|The Sri Lankan female business leaders,|
Kumari Perera, Rezani and Saroshi Dubeh.
|The vivacious, Sarrah Sammoon.|
|The CIPE team Marc, Hammad and Jennifer.|
|Masooma Sibtain was among the most vocal of the company.|
|Huzaifa in action during conducting his session.|
|Rita Bhandary from Nepal during her presentation.|
|Huzaifa Shabbir Hussain.|
Sarrah Sammoon and Fariha Munir Shah.
|Marc and Hammad Siddiqui, conducting the workshop.|
|Hammad Siddiqui, Jennifer Anderson and Huzaifa Shabbir Hussain.|
The CIPE trainers.
|The bright young star of Sri Lanka, Sarrah Sammon.|
|Rifa and Saroshi Dubash, the Sri Lankan graces.|
|Janet Roland Sios from Papua New Guinea|
|Sangita Ahmed from Bangladesh.|
|Koisen Lawyers from Papua New Guinea|
and Damchae Dem from Bhutan.
|Aasia Saail Khan|
|Mr. Hammad Siddiqui and Marc, during the session|
|Masooma from SPWCCI with Jennifer Anderson of CIPE|
|Saroshi Dubeh, president Sri Lankan women chamber.|
|Rezani Aziz during tea time|
|Selima and Sangita Ahmed from Bangladesh.|
|Dhavanti from India.|
|Dr. Manju from India.|
|Ritu represents Nepal|
but is also former Miss India
|Marc and Hammad at work.|
|Hammad siddiqui, awarding the certificates to participants.|
|Jennifer and Ritu.|
|Janet Roland Sios and Marc , enjoying the dance performance.|
|The traditional Sri Lankan dancer and dance.|
|Hammad Siddiqui with Damchae Dem from Bhutan.|
|The participants, enjoying the dance performances.|
|Rifah Mostapha and Fariha Munir Shah.|
|Rifah with Masooma.|
|Fariha Munir Shah with Selima Ahmed.|
|The one and only, Fariha Munir Shah.|
|Masooma Sibtain and Fariha Munir Shah with Mr. Hammad Siddiqui.|