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Women’s Pride Restored through Unilever Empowerment Programme

Beneficiaries enjoy enhanced livelihoods and improved self esteem

Smiles all around

During a visit by Unilever Nigeria’s Managing Director, Mr. Thabo Mabe, to beneficiaries of the Women Empowerment Programme in Niger, Nassarawa and the FCT Abuja earlier in the year, various women got the opportunity to share their success stories and how the rural programme has changed their lives for the better.

These women included Edith Okogbue who had grown her trade by about 2000% in less than 6 months, Comfort Gara who employs the networking and marketing skills gained during the training to discover and manage corporate shoppers, and Iyero Waji whose profits have given her the opportunity to now send her children to school and enroll herself in the Teacher Training Institute.

“The Women Empowerment Programme is a very personal one to Unilever Nigeria because it touches the heart of who we are as a business – a Company that truly helps people feel good and get more out of life,” Thabo noted.

“We are committed to driving this programme forward and achieving our goal of directly enrolling 1,000 women in the programme, so they can enjoy more fulfilled, financially independent lives,” he added.

The Women Empowerment Programme

In August 2011, Unilever Nigeria formally launched the Women Empowerment Programme – a 3-step programme through which low-to-no income earning rural women get the opportunity to improve their livelihoods.

The 3-step programme was rolled out to 100 women in the Middle Belt region of the country covering the following states – Nassarawa, Benue, Kogi, Niger, Plateau and FCT Abuja. The programme involves:

  • Training of beneficiaries: Selected women go through a formal training programme where they learn business development and management skills, marketing, networking and sales techniques
  • Empowerment of beneficiaries: On completion of training, beneficiaries are provided with sales kiosks and start-up grants in the form of Unilever products, to start their businesses
  • Monitoring of beneficiaries: Beneficiaries are closely managed to ensure they bring learning to practice and succeed at their businesses

Through the programme, Unilever Nigeria aims to strategically contribute to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goal to End Poverty and Hunger, and also create a platform for women to significantly contribute to the socio-economic development of their communities.

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