The Coca-Cola Foundation recently partnered with Nigeria-based Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation to equip 5,000 women with vocational skills and business training.
The capacity-building programme, tagged “Catalyst for Change,” will be implemented by the foundation across five communities in Lagos. It was gathered that it would directly impact the lives of 5,000 women in places like Iwaya, Oworonshoki, Sangotedo, Magboro and Ogijo, on the outskirts of Lagos. A thousand of the women would receive funding and support to set up small-scale enterprises.
Business training modules to be delivered by experienced facilitators will focus on personal and product branding, business foundations and basic accounting, while artisanal training will cover courses in wig making, make-up, fashion and designing, household essentials and shoemaking, among others.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) is also providing support to the programme.
Bukola Bamiduro, founder of Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, expressed gratitude for the grant. She said: “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 programme, as these women will become catalysts in their communities, pulling their families out of poverty.”
Public affairs, communications and sustainability manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, also noted that, “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 was something that should be considered critically in empowering women, noting that women were always at the receiving end in the society.
The wife of the Lagos State governor was represented by Onigbanjo OIabisi. She commended the foundation for executing the programme at a time everyone was battling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Olabisi said the initiative would empower a critical mass of the people, adding that it was in line with the Lagos State government’s THEMES Agenda. She pleaded with other foundations to emulate Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation.
The foundation was established in 2017, with a vision to empower women and girls across the rural demographic. The foundation said the award of the grant would 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.
The Coca-Cola Company, it was gathered, has so far empowered 4.6 million women with over 420,000 Nigerian women directly impacted. The Coca-Cola Foundation, its philanthropic arm, 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, it was further gathered.
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, sanitizers, beads, and fascinators, the reporter was told.