By Vivian Onyebukwa
In a bid to up skill and empower women through recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, The Coca-Cola Company through its philanthropic arm, The Coca-Cola Foundation, has partnered with Nigeria-based NGO, Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, to help equip 5000 women with relevant vocational skills and business training.
The grant, awarded by The Coca-Cola Foundation, represents efforts to continually make a difference in the lives of women who remain pillars of the society; by providing business-focused trainings through its local implementing partner, Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, with the purpose of enhancing business acumen and scaling up micro enterprises to guarantee sustenance for themselves and their families.
The capacity building program tagged “Catalyst for Change” will be implemented by Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation across five communities in Lagos state and will directly impact the lives of 5000 women across Iwaya, Oworonshoki, Sangotedo, Magboro and Ogijo communities with 1000 of these women receiving funding and support to set up their small-scale enterprises.
Business training modules to be delivered by experienced facilitators will focus on personal & product branding, business foundations and basic accounting while artisanry trainings will cover courses in wig making, make-up, fashion and designing, household essentials, shoe making, amongst others, over the course of a five-month period with the program kicking off this August. Other partners providing support to the program include The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
Speaking on this program, Bukola Bamiduro, Founder of Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, expressed her gratitude for the grant saying, “Poverty is the greatest threat to our existence as it fuels crime, despair and vices. The impact of COVID-19 has further escalated poverty in Nigeria and so we are delighted with this partnership and the execution of the program as these women will become catalysts in their communities, pulling their families out of poverty”.
Also commenting on the program, the Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe remarked, “This is yet another way through which our Company is passionately contributing to the recovery of our economy following this devastating pandemic. Our desire is to continue to economically uplift as many women as possible in Nigeria as we recognise their critical roles in society. We are confident that this new partnership will go a long way in supporting women and providing them a means of livelihood through the recovery phase”.
Mrs Chidi Koldsweat, the Keynote Speaker reinstated that gender inequality is a mission we should all take seriously in empowering women stating that women are always on the receiving end in the society. Increasing economic equality is not because women are the lesser folk but because they have every right to be valued. With the 5000 women initiative our women stand a better chance to be impacted thereby impacting their family and community.
The Office of the First Lady, represented by Onigbanjo OIabisi commended the Foundation for executing this program at a period where the country is contending with the severe effects of covid 19 pandemic. The Office of the First Lady aligns with this initiative to empower a critical mass of our people as it is in line with the Lagos State Government THEMES Agenda.
She also pleaded with other foundations to emulate Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation.
Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation is a non-profit established in 2017, with a vision to empower women and girls across the rural demographic. The award of this grant will help in achieving the shared objective of The Coca-Cola Foundation to grow a sustainable pipeline of female talent and empower women, ultimately creating a sustainable society.
Through its ambitious goal of empowering 5 million women across the world by 2020 under its 5by20 initiative, The Coca-Cola Company has so far empowered 4.6 million women with over 420,000 Nigerian women directly impacted. The Company through its philanthropic arm, The Coca-Cola Foundation, has contributed more than $1 billion over the past 36 years to help protect the environment, promote recycling, empower women and enhance communities around the world. The women will be trained in the areas of baking, fashion, furniture, and textile design. They will also receive training on how to make hair, sanitizer, bead, and fascinators.