As part of continued efforts to upskill and empower women across underserved communities in Nigeria, Coca-Cola’s women empowerment programme tagged “Catalyst for Change” has seen the graduation of another set of 1000 women from the third tranche of the programme organized in the Ogijo, Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
The graduation ceremony which held on Friday November 6, 2020 at Nirvana Hotels and Suites in Ogijo community, marked a close to the four-week intensive skills acquisition training which had commenced in October.
Over the course of the four-week programme, 1000 women were trained in vocational skills like makeup artistry, shoemaking, dressmaking, textile design, baking, amongst others.
Upon graduation, 200 women who had proved exceptional were each provided with start-up kits to help kickstart their businesses.
The Catalyst for Change programme, originally launched in August 2020 in partnership with local NGO Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, is part of several strategic interventions across the country under Coca-Cola’s COVID-19 Relief Plan.
Under this intervention, the flagship programme was inaugurated, following the award of a grant to the NGO from The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF), the company’s philanthropic arm. So far, a total of 2,600 women have been economically empowered.
In her opening remarks at the ceremony, Mrs. Bukola Bamiduro, founder of Karis and Eleos Foundation, commended the zeal and passion of the participants saying, “This programme was created to drive change in the lives of women through relevant skill-based trainings 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”.
Florence Bassey, a beneficiary from the program, expressed her gratitude to Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and to the NGO saying “We have been inspired to believe and understand that there is nothing we cannot achieve as women.
“I am confident that with what I have learnt, I can support my family through the difficulties brought about by the pandemic”.
Present at the graduation ceremony were key community representatives including the King of Ogijo, Oba Kazeem Kashimawo Olaonipekun Gbadamosi; the Chairman Nirvana Hotels and Suites, Mr. G.A Doghudhe; a representative of Iyaloja of Ogijoland, Mrs. Bolanle Lateef; and a Pastor of Mountain of Fire Ministries, Mr. Adegbuyi Victor-Banjo.
Speaking at the event, The King of Ogijo, Oba Kazeem Kashimawo Olaonipekun Gbadamosi, expressed his appreciation for the initiative and the support provided by Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited.
He commended the company saying, “I cannot believe the impact and turnout from this event. Our women have been empowered and I look forward to what is to come”.
He assured all present that the palace will continue to monitor the progress of the beneficiaries for the next six months and will readily give further support to them.
According to Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and its bottling partner, Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd., the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about hardship and loss, but also selflessness, courage, countless acts of kindness, as well as an appreciation for the many things that might have been taken for granted.
As the world emerges into a new normal, the Catalyst for Change intervention will help create optimism and hope for these vulnerable women to better support their families.
The Catalyst for Change programme is crucial to bridging the apparent skill gap in order to achieve an inclusive and sustainable society for economic growth. This is a vital step towards building a better future, together.
Since 1984, the Coca-Cola Foundation has contributed more than $1 billion to help empower women, protect the environment and enhance communities, socially and economically around the world.