As part of continued efforts to upskill and empower women across underserved communities in Nigeria, Coca-Cola’s women empowerment initiative tagged “Catalyst for Change 2.0” recently graduated about 1000 women after a four-week intensive skills acquisition training held in Alausa, Ikeja.
Launched in August 2020 by Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, a local non-governmental organisation through a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the “Catalyst for Change” initiative is part of Coca-Cola’s vision to ensure the economic empowerment of women and youth in Nigeria. The first edition of the programme sought to ensure economic recovery during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the four-week programme, 1000 women enrolled in vocational skills such as baking, textile design, production of household cleaning items, wig-making, make-up artistry, bag-making, shoemaking among others. The women were also enrolled in business classes to ensure their financial literacy, while 200 of them were provided with start-up kits to help kick-start their businesses.
“This programme was created to drive change in the lives of women through relevant skill-based training and financial literacy sessions. We are hopeful that through this programme, beneficiaries will leverage the skills obtained to maintain a steady flow of income as women are economic pillars of the society,” said Bukola Bamiduro, founder/executive director, Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation.
According to Bamiduro, the second edition of the programme has been developed to reduce the rate of rural-urban migration caused by a lack of access to opportunities in vulnerable communities. So far, the programme, in its entirety, has seen the economic empowerment of a total of 6,000 women and youth across several underserved communities in Nigeria.
Ifeyinwa Ejindu, communications manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, said the initiative does not only seek to empower women financially, but to also ensure women are contributing members of the society whose efforts drive the country to economic recovery.
“At Coca-Cola, we believe women are integral to our world’s shared success, so we seek to empower them both in the workplace and the communities within which we operate. Women are not only essential to building thriving communities – we believe they represent one of the biggest accelerators of economic growth. And this was the driving force behind the Catalyst For Change programme at its inception,” Ejindu said.
Oyesola Okunuga, a beneficiary of the program, expressed her gratitude to the Coca-Cola System in Nigeria, stating that the initiative had granted her a new lease on life. “For years, I’ve always been motivated to add some value to this community and those around me. I’ve been looking forward to a programme that would help me achieve this and I thank The Coca-Cola Foundation and Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation for supporting this programme. I am confident I can support my family and achieve my goal of running a successful business with what I have learnt.”