The community of Onigbongbo, Lagos, was in a joyous mood today, as 1062 women were equipped with transformative skills through the Coca-Cola Foundation-funded women empowerment initiative, Catalyst for Change 2.0, to enhance their economic standards and quality of life for themselves and their families.
The graduation ceremony, held at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Maryland, marked the conclusion of another edition of the initiative in Lagos, bringing the total number of empowered communities in Lagos to 9 out of 10.
Catalyst for Change 2.0 is one of Coca Cola’s several women empowerment and youth development initiatives and has delivered economic empowerment to a total of 9,062 women through vocational skills such as pastry making, shoemaking, fashion designing, makeup artistry, wig making, tie and dye, household essentials and bag making. Participants in financial literacy and business management classes learned about bookkeeping, personal and product branding, social media management, and customer relationship management.
Speaking at the ceremony, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Director, Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria, commended the beneficiaries and challenged them to continue using the skills gained through the program. “I am heartened by the great achievements of previous participants of this program. When women work, economies thrive, and women empowerment increases productivity. The sponsorship of this project is in line with our Africa sustainability platform JAMII focused on wealth creation for women and youths. The system is thrilled about the outcomes and impact stories, and I anticipate that this batch of beneficiaries will attain a better degree of achievement,” she said.
The goal of this initiative, according to Onyemelukwe, is to constantly lower the number of disadvantaged women in society and integrate them into a growth trajectory that generates value for their families and society.
She added that the recycling knowledge garnered from the training should be capitalized on by the beneficiaries as a supplementary source of income while ensuring community sanitation. “The Waste to Wealth initiative is one of Coca-Cola’s numerous recycling projects aimed at promoting recycling by collecting PET waste and converting it to monetary value or food items. This practice is a source of value and additional revenue for women who own businesses or work in the corporate sector. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to promote financial inclusion in our society.’’
Bukola Bamiduro, founder, Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation, the program implementing partner, advised the beneficiaries to continuously create value in their communities through the application and transmission of knowledge while uplifting themselves, thereby leading to the formation of a cycle of trans-generational businesses.
She thanked the Coca-Cola Foundation for financially supporting the project and Wema Bank for the financial opportunities offered to the beneficiaries to ensure a better standard of living.
Amaka Igboaziahia, an outstanding alumna of the Catalyst for Change 2.0 in the Surulere community, recounted her experiences during the occasion. Igboahazia, who now runs an Ottoman upholstery business as well as a confectionery startup, urged the program’s participants to make the best use of the tools and skills they gained. “Rather than sitting passively at home, employ these skills you have gained to construct a better life for yourselves,” she said. I understood what I wanted out of the program from the first day, and I continually enhanced my efforts toward launching my business”.
Adeyemi Adebimpe, a beneficiary from the Onigbongbo Community, also conveyed her appreciation to the Coca-Cola Foundation and the Karis and Eleos Foundation for the opportunity. “I am grateful to both foundations for this life-changing experience, and I can’t wait to start my business with all I’ve learnt. Being a part of this program has transformed my perspective on being self-sufficient, and I intend to pass this information on to other women in my life,” she stated.
Chinyere Nwigwe, another program beneficiary, expressed confidence in her ability to account for her funds while running her shoe making and fashion designing businesses as a result of the business lessons she took during the program.
So far, a total of 1,800 women have received start up kits/seed capital to start businesses out of the 9,000 women who have participated in the program.