Moroccan Entrepreneur Mouna Abbassy Wins Cartier Womens Initiative Award

By Yasyn MouhirRabat – Mouna Abbassy, a young businesswoman originally from Morocco, received the 2015 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award for the Middle East and North Africa on Thursday, October 15, in Deauville, France.Her project featuring original Moroccan products, and called “Izil Beauty,” won over the jury in the competition.  Izil Beauty produces cosmetics made of Argan oil and other rare natural ingredients imported from Morocco. The winner of the Women’s Initiative Award receives $20,000 business monitoring for a year and a trophy.The 33-year-old dedicated her prize to all of the Amazigh (Berber) women who inspired her through their traditional beauty methods.“It’s an honour to receive this award. I dedicate it to all the Berber women working with me and handling this rare and precious resource. Today, argan oil is known everywhere in the world and it’s thanks to their labour, Abbassy said upon receiving the award.“These women live in very harsh conditions and so this award is truly for all them. All I can say is thank you very, very much,” she added.Abbassy moved to Dubai from Morocco 10 years ago to start a career as a marketing professional for multinational cosmetic brands.  Rediscovering the age-old Moroccan beauty rituals, she decided in 2013 to launch her own brand, Izil Beauty. Izil means “pure” in Moroccan Berber.The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is a business plan competition created in 2006 by Cartier and supported by the Women’s Forum of McKinsey &Co, and INSEAD.  Since its inception, it has championed young businesswomen whose projects meet three criteria: creativity, viability, and impact on society and the environment. Since 2006, the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards has supported 160 women and 44 award laureate.Edited by Elisabeth Myers read more

UN envoy on ending HIVAIDS in Africa says child treatments possible in

Addressing a conference on AIDS orphans in Africa, Special Envoy Stephen Lewis said the lack of treatment suitable for children was a long-time problem, but the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) were now trying to find solutions.”The most important touch of solace on the horizon is that UNICEF and WHO have come together in an effort to address the most complex aspects of this predicament,” he said. “It’s estimated that if we started immediately, we could get certain paediatric formulations onto the market within 18 months.”Nonetheless, the 2.2 million children already living with AIDS were likely to lose the race against time, he said.The most effective way to stop the infection of children was to stop transmission from the pregnant mother to the developing child, but only 10 per cent of HIV-infected expectant mothers in Africa could access clinics providing prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT), he said.Those clinics were distributing single-dose nevirapine, which if 80 per cent of infected African women got it, would reduce child infection by half, or 300,000 cases, Mr. Lewis said.”On the other hand, in the West, using full-anti-retroviral (ATV) intervention, what we call triple dose therapy, the numbers of infected children have been cut virtually to zero,” he said, asking, “How long will this double standard be tolerated? How long will the lives of African children be considered of lesser worth?” read more