Home >> About Us

About Us

The East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP) is a forum that brings together business-women from across the East African Community (EAC). Its membership and Steering Committee comprises of; national apex bodies/ associations/ networks of business-women (including associations of women formal and informal cross-border traders); professional women associations; and civil society organizations working to promote business-women and women’s socio-economic advancement.

Drawing its mandate from the Treaty for the Establishment of East African Community, particularly under Article 121 and 122, the EAWiBP inspired by its vision of becoming “A Women’s Centre of Excellence for Intra and Extra-EAC Trade”. Its mission is; “Position and Catalyze the Participation of Women in EAC’s Integration Process”. As outlined in its Strategic Plan, the Platform pursues the following strategic objectives and results:

  • Increased effective participation of women in business in the EAC integration processes.
  • Improved contribution of women in business in the EAC partner states.
  • Increased progression of women-owned enterprises in the EAC from informal to formal status.


    To be a women’s centre of excellence for intra and extra-EAC trade


    To position and catalyze the participation of women in the EAC’s integration process

    Core Values

    1. Commitment to equality - A strong commitment to gender equity and equality, and equality among other diverse groups and members.
    2. Results oriented - Accountable to its members and women in business in East Africa for the tangible results it achieves to enable them to participate effectively in intra-regional trade.
    3. Professionalism and excellence – Recruitment of qualified professional staff and members of governance organs and promotion of the culture of excellence and continuous learning.
    4. Trail blazing leadership – As a private sector led initiative in the EAC’s economic integration, the Platform will lead the processes of mainstreaming gender concerns and greater share of benefits for women in business.

    EAWiBP’s membership comprises of individuals, as well as formal and informal national associations and networks of women, and civil society organisations that support women’s general socio-economic growth.

    To join the Platform as an individual member, one must be a paid-up member of a national association that belongs to EAWiBP; and must be recommended to EAWiBP for individual membership by their national association.

    The Platform’s members are drawn from:Individual professional women and women in business.

    1. National umbrella/apex bodies/associations/networks of women in business, entrepreneurs and trade.
    2. Large, national associations of women in business/trade in partner states that do not have an umbrella organisation.
    3. Civil society organisations whose mandate includes a strong component of women’s socio-economic empowerment, especially through participation in economic activities in East Africa.

    Annual membership fees for associations is US$350 and for individuals is US$300. The Platform currently consists of various individual members, as well as the following national bodies that represent more than 3,000 women drawn from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda:

    • The Association of Media Women in Kenya (AWMIK)
    • The Association of Women in Agri-Business Network (AWAN) Kenya and East Africa
    • Burundi Women Entrepreneurs’ Association (AFAB)
    • East African Association of Women Entrepreneurs
    • Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI)
    • Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations in Kenya (FEWA-K)
    • Regional Cross Border Traders Association of Women in East Africa
    • Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs (RCWE)
    • Tanzania Women’s Chamber of Commerce (TWCC)
    • Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL)


    • Support for association research and advocacy activities linked to intra-EAC trade;
    • Participation in EAC advocacy initiatives;
    • Support for association activities that promote intra-EAC trade (capacity building and access to markets);
    • Opportunities to participate in the Platform’s regional activities, involving at least two EAC partner states;
    • Listing on the Platform’s website with a link to the association’s website;
    • All members of the association have access to the Platform’s services through their association;
    • Associations are included on the Platform’s mailing list for information on current trade news, updates and upcoming opportunities.


    • An EAWiBP registration number that can be included on the individual’s business cards and letterhead;
    • EAWiBP acknowledgement of membership letters upon request;
    • Listing on the Platform’s website with a link to the member’s website;
    • Inclusion on the Platform’s mailing list for information on current trade news, updates and upcoming opportunities;
    • Opportunity to bid for Platform job opportunities;
    • Opportunity to bid for participation in EAWiBP delegations to high-level East African Community events.

    The following documents guide EAWiBP’s strategic and operational governance: A Strategic Plan (the 2017 onwards is under development), a Constitution and Membership Guidelines.

    • A Steering Committee consisting of two representatives of the following eight national associations of professionals and women in business, as well as a regional Civil Society Organisation (CSO), from the EAC region currently govern EAWiBP:
    • The Association of Media Women in Kenya (AWMIK)
    • The Association of Women in Agri-Business Network (AWAN) Kenya
    • Burundi Women Entrepreneurs’ Association (AFAB)
    • Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for Advancement of Women (EASSI)
    • Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association in Kenya (FEWA-K)
    • Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs (RCWE)
    • Tanzania Women’s Chamber of Commerce (TWCC)
    • Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL)

    The Steering Committee provides leadership for the Platform.

    The Platform coordinator is the Secretary to the Steering Committee and serves in an ex-officio capacity.

    The Executive is the apex body of the Steering Committee, responsible for overall leadership and decision making.

    The Executive is comprised of the Chair and the first and second Vice Chairpersons, and is supported by the coordinator in an ex-officio capacity.

    The Chair and Vice Chairpersons are elected by the Steering Committee from amongst the members of the Steering Committee by a simple majority.

    The position of Chair is rotational across the EAC region member countries.

    The sitting executive committee members of the Platform are: Dorothy Tuma (Chairperson); Marren Akatsa-Bukachi (First Vice Chairperson); Immy Kamarande (Second Vice Chairperson), and Nancy Gitonga ( Regional Coordinator, EAWiBP Secretary).


    Women play an important role in the economic, social and political development of the EAC region and therefore need to be accorded high priority as partners in the regional integration process.
    EAWiBP does this by converging the synergies of women from the various trading blocs and enabling them to speak with one voice.


    The Platform operates at three levels:

    • Regional level: engaging through the EABC with the EAC and with other entities such as institutions established under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the European Union (EU), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
    • National level: through the lead associations and networks of women entrepreneurs, women professionals, women in trade and business
    • Sector Champions: AWAN-EA, East African Women Entrepreneurs, Women Exchange Network (EAWEExN, Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE), Federation of National Associations of Women in Business in Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (FEMCOM) and Leading Women of Africa (LWA).

    The core functions of the Platform are:


    1. Research and advocacy on policy development and implementation at the regional level.
    2. Provision of technical assistance on policy advocacy to members as and when requested.

    Capacity Building

    1. Capacity strengthening for members.
    2. Facilitating trade-related capacity strengthening.
    3. Sharing of knowledge and experiences and building on this knowledge.
    4. Peer to peer learning.

    Market Information

    1. Business intelligence and information sharing on regional issues and opportunities.

    Access to Markets

    1. Developing and strengthening linkages and networks.
    2. Promotion of Business-to-Business linkages and networking.
    3. Participation in trade missions and exhibitions.


    Over time, EAWiB has achieved the following for its individual and institutional members, and stakeholders:

    • Increased participation in research and advocacy;
    • Enhanced policy and advocacy initiatives;
    • Enhancing access to finance;
    • Developed women’s business skills to increase their participation in EAC trade;
    • Increased trade related capacity building and enhanced networking opportunities;
    • Increased business intelligence and information access and sharing;
    • Increased networking for business and intra-EAC trade;
    • Enhanced partnerships

    Dorothy M. Tuma

    Dorothy M. Tuma is the current Chair of the East African Women in Business Platform, which represents over 3,000 women entrepreneurs and traders in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.  She is also the immediate past Vice Chair of the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL); Director DMT Consultants Ltd. and Founder, Women’s Centre for Job Creation (WCFJC).

    Dorothy has several years of experience as a lead consultant and trainer in both the design and implementation of a variety of trade-related projects in Eastern and Southern Africa, with a particular interest in women and trade.

    She has undertaken projects for the Centre for Development of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI), the East African Business Council (EABC), the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and Vital Voices Global Partnership.  Prior to her development work, Dorothy was a brand manager for a California-based corporation.

    She has a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, a Master of Business Administration from the Anderson School, University of California Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Makerere University Kampala, Uganda.

    Nancy Gitonga

    Nancy Kinanu Gitonga is the current Regional Coordinator for East African Women in Business Platform, a self-motivated and diligent individual with a keen interest in increasing women’s participation in Intra-EAC trade. Her wide experience in Gender and trade has seen her get elected to various boards where she serves including The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), a powerful Pan-African Organization. She seats in the UN Women CSO Advisory Board, and is the Chairperson with Entrepreneurs Development Agency (EDA), dedicated to business mentorship and entrepreneurial skills development. She also serves in the Kenya’s National Steering Committee of African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA).

    Nancy is an award winner of Pan-African MOWE award by ILO and UN Women in recognition of her pivotal role in Training of Women Entrepreneurs, Advocacy for Women's Economic Empowerment and Volunteerism awarded to her in September 2012.

    She holds a Masters Degree in Business Management & Administration from Africa Nazarene University, Kenya and specialised in Project management. A holder of a Bachelor Degree in Business Admnistration from KeMu University. A holder of Post-Graduate Diploma in Private Sector Growth, from SIPU/SWEDEN  &  Holder of Post graduate  Diploma in Entrepreneurship innovation & development from MASHAV, Israel.


    In July 2017, Nancy underwent a vigorous training by UNTCAD and was certified as a consultant in the area of Gender and Trade in Africa. Also underwent a specialised training in Johnesburg,South Africa in July 2014 and was certified as Trainer 4 Trainers under AWEP-SEAF  programme,  to build capacities and training of women entrepreneurs in Africa to equip them with nowledge and tools to access AGOA market.


     Nancy is a trained consultant in Private Sector Growth by SIPU International Institute in Sweden; trained in  ACCESS! For African Busi-ness Women by International Trade Centre (ITC), YES-MSE - Training for Enterprise Development Agents in Business Advisory and Training Services (BATS) in Kenya by UNDP and Women’s Entrepreneurship Development

    For over 10 years, Nancy has worked with  various women’s organizations within Africa as a Volunteer, Consultant, Trainer,Chief Executive Director and at the Region, as a coordinator.