In a bid to improve the lives of women across Lagos State, Nigeria; Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation has announced the launch of the second edition of its women empowerment programme themed ‘Catalyst for Change 2.0’ – an initiative funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation.
The press briefing had in attendance respectable members of the Nigerian media, The Coca-Cola System leadership and key stakeholders including Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Uche Ogbonna, Senior Manager, Social Impact Strategy for Africa Operating Unit, The Coca-Cola Company, Ifeyinwa Ejindu, Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Jerome Oyebanji, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company, community heads and women leaders from the five project locations, alongside other corporate guests.
Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation is a non-profit organisation with a focus on empowering women and girls, especially those living in rural communities with no access to opportunities. Bukola Bamiduro, Founder/Program Director, Karis & Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, emphasized the importance of the ‘Catalyst For Change 2.0’ project, stating its role in ensuring the empowerment of underserved women and youth in Nigeria. She said: “We are proud to continue this impactful programme and make a meaningful contribution to the lives of more women and girls in the country. We extend our gratitude to The Coca-Cola Foundation who has remained steadfast in its commitment to this project”.
Ekuma Eze, Director, Public Affairs and Communications, Nigerian Bottling Company, represented at the press conference by Jerome Oyebanji, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company, added:
“We are delighted to continue what has been a fruitful partnership with Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation. Poverty alleviation and women and youth empowerment remain key priorities for the Coca-Cola System in Nigeria. The Catalyst for Change programme was developed to ensure that these key areas are addressed in the communities we call home and we are truly proud of the results achieved so far”.
As part of plans for a successful edition, Catalyst for Change 2.0 will extend to women and youth in communities across Surulere, Alausa/Agidingbi, Ijora, Agege and Onigbongbo in Lagos state for a 10 month period starting October 4, 2021. The program, aimed at reducing the harsh economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, seeks to reduce the migration of rural women to urban areas by empowering them with business and life skills that will elevate them from extreme poverty and encourage their migration back to their local communities.
“Empowering women to thrive is a global commitment for The Coca-Cola Foundation”, said Saadia Madsbjerg, President of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “Our ultimate goal is to lift women out of poverty and into lives of self-sufficiency by focusing on those community programs offering education, skills training, financial literacy and mentoring, such as the Catalyst for Change 2.0 programme”.
The programme plan will adopt two training models which include hands-on training classes (such as baking, bagmaking, shoemaking, hairstyling, makeup artistry, tie & dye design and production of household cleaning items) and business classes which will provide training around the foundations of running a successful business; personal and product branding; accounting; bookkeeping and finance management; recruiting customers; leveraging social media; accessing loans and grants; gender-based violence and recycling.
During the inaugural programme in 2020 themed “Catalyst for Change”, Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation, successfully equipped 5,000 women and girls across five communities (Sangotedo, Oworonshoki, Ogijo, Iwaya and Magboro communities) with transformative vocational skills while 1,000 beneficiaries were presented with business start-up kits to kickstart their businesses and earn a living. The success stories and testimonials recorded during the recently completed monitoring and evaluation exercise indicated a highly successful campaign, which contributed to the funding of the second edition of the programme by The Coca-Cola Foundation through a grant of $300,000 to empower yet another set of 5,000 women across five communities in Lagos State.
The Catalyst for Change 2.0 programme will use education through skills acquisition as an agent of change in the lives of women in Nigeria. Education is recognised as the most effective tool to tackle large-scale poverty entrenched in various parts of the world and this project seeks to leverage education to help eliminate poverty and inequality, reduce unemployment, raise incomes, and improve standards of living.