From left, Azza Humadi, program manager, Women’s Advocate Initiative; Iraqi Minister of Human Rights Wijdan Mikhael; and Lt. Col. Sandra Rodriguez-Brown, Joint Contracting Command Iraq and Afghanistan’s director of business development and outreach program, speak at the Women-owned Business and the Future Conference at Baghdad’s Al-Rasheed Hotel, March 21, 2009. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by F. T. Eyre
Army Corps of Engineers Opens Doors for Businesswomen in Iraq
By Rick Haverinen
Special to American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, March 25, 2009 – The Gulf Region Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq unveiled two initiatives March 21 that will expand Iraqi businesswomen’s ability to gain work with the division.
GRD officials announced the initiatives at the division-hosted Women-Owned Business and the Future Conference in Baghdad’s Al-Rasheed Hotel.
The division has set aside a percentage of contracts in the Foreign Military Sales and Iraqi Security Force Funds programs to award to women-owned businesses in Iraq, Navy Capt. Joseph Konicki, GRD’s director of military programs, said.
The contract set-asides mark the first time GRD is tapping into a portion of its Foreign Military Sales program, which is ultimately funded by the Iraqi government to build its own military-related infrastructure, officials said. The additional Iraqi Security Force Funds program, which also has a set-aside portion for Iraqi businesswomen, is U.S-funded.
Konicki said Iraqi businesswomen are welcome to bid on contracts for any projects they feel competent to complete, not just the percentage of work specifically set aside for them.
The conference, organized by Azza Humadi, program manager for GRD’s Women’s Advocate Initiative, opened a dialogue for strategies to keep the program running when U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq.
“The title, ‘Women-owned Business and the Future,’ means we have finished an era, and are entering a new one,” Humadi told the audience. She expressed concern that the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq will affect her program, as fewer people will require help from Iraqis who provide service and construction work...
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