About 60,000 Nigerian women and youths in Lagos, Abuja, Benin, Kano, and Owerri, are set to benefit from a series of transformative skills and knowledge aimed at improving their standard of living and ushering them into a sustainable growth trajectory.
This initiative is a collaborative effort between The Coca-Cola Foundation and another non-profit social enterprise, Whitefield Foundation.
Towards achieving the target, the Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded a grant to Whitefield Foundation, to launch the initiative which is tagged; “E.Q.U.I.P which stands for Educate, Quench, Upgrade, Illuminate, and Pivot.”
The organisers, in a statement, said the initiative is aimed at driving women’s empowerment and youth development in vulnerable communities in Nigeria.
According to Saadia Madsbjerg, President, The Coca-Cola Foundation, the project is in line with the company’s vision of enabling improved livelihoods for women, youth, families and surrounding communities.
He said; “Our strategy is to strengthen communities, create a better-shared future, and reach ambitious sustainability goals through prioritisation, perseverance and partnerships. We believe in the Whitefield Foundation’s ability to bring about positive change.”
Meanwhile, the management of Whitefield Foundation said the initiative will support Sustainable Development Goals targeting hunger, poverty, gender equality, decent work and sustained economic growth.
Speaking on EQUIP, Funmi Johnson, CEO of Whitefield Foundation, said; “We can change the Nigerian narrative and build a nation of our dreams if partners with like vision harmonize and synergize efforts to save and empower the teeming growing youth population, as well as release the innate nurturing capacity of the women folks. This is our passion at Whitefield Foundation.”
“This partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation has been the ultimate game-changer in youth and women’s empowerment. With them, we have been able to scale our reach in an unprecedented manner,” she added.
Reasons for intervention
In Nigeria, the United Nations (UN) posits that women and girls make up more than half of the population but still do not have sufficient access nor opportunities to realise their full potential as agents of change who can provide solutions to some of the country’s most pressing issues.
Government data from UNICEF also shows that only about four out of 10 girls in North-Eastern Nigeria attend primary school, mainly due to factors such as poverty and lack of access to opportunities.
Furthermore, the latest data shows that 47.3 per cent of Nigerians, or 98 million people, live in multidimensional poverty, with most of them located in Northern Nigeria.
According to Coca-Cola, this development has earned Northern Nigeria and Kano State a special focus, as the company seeks to deepen national impact and harness the teeming population of youth and women in a region mired in an insurgency.
On the other hand, Whitefield Foundation said since its establishment in 2003, it has been at the forefront of providing empowerment, educational and entrepreneurial training to thousands of young adults in Lagos, Nigeria, saying it has trained over 5,000 secondary school leavers and graduates in different skill acquisition programmes.
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