From Chinenye Anuforo, Lagos
As part of an effort to educate and empower women in underserved communities in Nigeria, Coca-Cola’s women’s advancement program, titled “Catalyst for Change 2.0,” has completed 1,000 women in Alausa, Ikeja.
The graduation ceremony, which took place in the parish of St. Peter Anglican Church Alausa, marked the end of a four-week intensive skills acquisition training course in October.
During the four-week program, 1,000 women enrolled in professional skills such as baking, textile design, household cleaning items making, wig making, makeup artistry, bag making, shoemaking and more. The women were also enrolled in business classes to ensure their financial literacy. Additionally, out of 1,000 women who proved exceptional, 200 were given start-up kits to help kick-start their businesses.
The Catalyst for Change program was launched in August 2020 by a local NGO, the Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, with a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation and is part of Coca-Cola’s vision of strengthening the economy Guarantee women and youth in Nigeria. The first edition of the program, launched last year, aimed to ensure economic recovery in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the success, a second edition was supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation in October 2021 and will be implemented in Nigeria via the Coca-Cola system, which includes Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and its bottling partner Nigerian Bottling Company.
This second edition of the program is designed to reduce rural-to-urban migration caused by lack of access to opportunities in vulnerable communities. So far, the program as a whole has enabled the economic empowerment of a total of 6,000 women and youth in several underserved communities in Nigeria.
In her opening address at the ceremony, Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation Founder / Executive Director Bukola Bamiduro said, “This program was created to drive change in the lives of women through appropriate skills-based training and financial education.” We hope that through this program beneficiaries will use the skills they have acquired to maintain a steady flow of income as women are the economic pillars of society. ‘
Ifeyinwa Ejindu, Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, added, âAt Coca-Cola we believe that women are an integral part of our mutual success, so we strive to incorporate them both in the workplace and in the communities where we are working to strengthen. Women are not only critical to building thriving communities – we believe they are one of the greatest accelerators of economic growth. And that was the driving force behind the Catalyst For Change program at the beginning – not only empowering women financially, but also ensuring they are members of the society whose efforts are leading the country towards economic recovery. “
Oyesola Okunuga, a beneficiary of the program, thanked Coca-Cola in Nigeria and said the initiative had given her a new life. âFor years I have always been motivated to add value to this community and those around me. I was looking forward to a program that would help me achieve this, and I thank The Coca-Cola Foundation and Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation for supporting this program. I am confident that I can support my family and achieve my goal of running a successful company with what I have learned. ‘
Also speaking at the event was High Chief Oluwatoyin Adeyanju, the Baale of Alausa, who expressed his appreciation for the initiative and support of the Coca-Cola system. He encouraged women to use the opportunity effectively. In his words: âThe impact of this program has been incredible and I am delighted to see so many women seizing the opportunity to take part. Thanks to Coca-Cola and the Karis and Eleos Foundation, our women have been empowered and made active members of the Alausa community. ‘
According to Jerome Oyebanji, Public Affairs & Communications Manager (Lagos & West), Nigerian Bottling Company, the program will continue its efforts to “equip women with business and life skills that will lift them out of extreme poverty and build community resilience”. . ‘
The next installment of the program is scheduled to start in Surulere this month.