Unilever Ghana, in collaboration with ProNet North, has launched a livelihood empowerment project in Upper West Region to develop entrepreneurial mindset of women and also assist them to become financially independent.
Several women selected from rural communities within Wa Municipality and three other districts in the region have therefore been trained in basic bookkeeping, financial management and savings principles, among other topics, under an Indian ‘Shakti’ business model.
Shakti started in Unilever India in 2001 to create livelihood opportunities for underprivileged rural women.
It has so far been reported to have provided over 80,000 micro-entrepreneur job opportunitiesin that country.
The launch of the Shakti Project in Upper West Region on Tuesday paved way for women who sign onto the programme to be offered a product loan of assorted Unilever items to sell but are allowed to keep the profit and restock from the capital regenerated.
Unilever Ghana Managing Director Gladys Amoah said at the ceremony “this initiative responds to the objectives of the Unilever sustainable living plan which promotes the enhancement of livelihoods of millions of people across the globe.”
“Empowering women economically has been one of the platforms adopted for advancing this cause,” she added.
The company has been able to reach out to millions of people with its Livebuoy handwashing campaign, which emphasizes the need to wash hands, and thereby helping to prevent loss of lives due to infections that cause diarrhea and cholera.
Assorted Unilever products, including salt, soaps, assorted Lipton tea bags and toothpastes, among others, were presented to the women to start their own microentrepreneurial operations.
Amidu Issahaku Chinnia, the Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, commended Unilever for the initiative and quoted a recent survey report by the Ghana Statistics Service that peg unemployment rate in UW at 18.4 per cent.
He said in order to build a prosperous region, there was the need to start from women at the family level, saying, “When we invest in women we are certainly going to reduce poverty in the country.”
Mr. Chinnia said government believes in the philosophy of enabling strong private sector participation in developing the economy and has taken initiatives that would enhance private sector growth to create employment.
The Wa Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Issahaku Tahiru Moomin, was thankful Unilever Foundation was supporting the country’s policy objective of reducing poverty and creating prosperity for the people.