Women for Women International Announce Major Initiative

US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry Joins Women for Women International Founder Zainab Salbi and Kate Spade New York COO and Co-President Craig Leavitt to Announce a Major Initiative for Women.

Kabul - Afghanistan/Washington DC, August 10, 2010 - U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry announced a major new initiative today aimed and empowering and employing Afghan women. The partnership between Women for Women International and kate spade new york, will further integrate women into society in Afghanistan. Making the announcement, Ambassador Eikenberry said, "This is a rare day here in Afghanistan to see our focus on American business and partnership with Afghanistan coming to fruition."

Also in attendance was President Obama's Global Ambassador for Women Melanne Verveer, Women for Women Founder and CEO Zainab Salbi, and kate spade new york COO and Co-President President Craig Leavitt. This new initiative is an example of the important private-public partnership that is critical in helping expand profitable job creation for women in a country ravaged by war. Ambassador Verveer acknowledged this important step for women saying, "This is an announcement that has to do with economic opportunity. It has to do with the private sector. It has to do with the women in this country. And it marries many of those ingredients together that can lead to greater economic opportunity and growth."

Research conducted by Women for Women International has shown economic support for women is a key component of rebuilding society. Zainab Salbi noted that, "Peace and stability in Afghanistan cannot be accomplished through only a military solution. It has to be accomplished through the investment and the development and infrastructure of the Afghan people, and giving them opportunities in terms of economic opportunities, and that is why we are so excited about Kate Spade's innovation and leadership and taking the steps to come to Afghanistan and make the investment in creating solid market and development opportunities for Afghan women." Women for Women International has been operating in Afghanistan since 2002, providing nearly $17 million dollars in micro credit loans to over 60,000 women.

kate spade new york is dedicated to helping women in war torn countries rebuild their communities by giving them jobs, and the financial capital and resources to achieve their goals of expanding profitable job creation. Craig Leavitt went on to say, "I was struck by how optimistic the women are. Like everyone, they want their children's lives to be better than theirs; to have financial security so that they can educate them. To accomplish this, one woman asked: we just need a market for our goods. And that's what we're here to explore."

Starting in 2012 kate spade new york will start creating approximately 5,000 units of product a year with Afghan women, with a goal of reaching up to 15,000 units by 2013. The US government is a critical partner in creating an enabling environment in Afghanistan for the partnership to take root. Government leadership and resources provide a necessary level of scale and sustainability that can make the partnership a truly successful model.

Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, and the issue of women has often been over looked as the world tries to rebuild this nation. Studies have shown women reinvest up to 90% of their resources in the family and community, helping achieve key development goals. Both Women for Women International and kate spade new york believe investing in women is a critical way of building stronger and sustainable societies, where economic investment is key.

About us: Since 1993, Women for Women International has empowered over 200,000 women survivors of war to move toward economic self-sufficiency with our year-long program of direct aid, rights education, job skills training, and small business development. That includes helping women in Iraq, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan, Nigeria, Kosovo and Bosnia. For more information go to WomenforWomen.org.

kate spade new york, founded in 1993, is a global lifestyle brand owned by Liz Claiborne, Inc. kate spade new york currently operates 38 retail shops in the U.S. and has distribution in more than 400 doors worldwide.

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