Unilever Ghana in collaboration with ProNet North has launched a livelihood empowerment project in Upper West Region to develop entrepreneurial mindset of women and assist them to become financially independent.
Unilever Ghana Managing Director Gladys Amoah at the ceremony stated, “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”.
The programme, launched in Wa, on November 14, had several women selected from rural communities within Wa Municipality and three other districts in the region participating.
These women were 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 opportunities in that country.
The launch of the Shakti project in UW 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.
The managing director explained, “empowering women economically has been one of the platforms adopted for advancing the Unilever sustainable living plan.”
The women were encouraged to stay focused and work with determination to achieve the objectives of bettering their economic lives and help bring health solutions that meet everyday needs of consumers.
Assorted Unilever products including salt, soaps, assorted Lipton tea bags and toothpastes among others, were presented to the women to start their own micro-entrepreneurial operations.
The company has also 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.
“We have also been able to reach millions of people with our brush twice daily campaign also teaching children and adults alike the importance of brushing one’s teeth,” Mrs Amoah said.
Mr 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 Upper West Region at 18.4%.
The Regional Minister explained, generating enough viable and reliable business capable of creating the needed jobs for the people had been the biggest challenge for authorities, despite Upper West being noted for its vast potentials in trade, agriculture, tourism and many other promising ventures that require investments to open job opportunities for residents.
He said in order to build a prosperous region, there was the need to start from women at the family level, “when we invest in women, we are certainly going to reduce poverty in the country”.
However, Mr Chinnia said the government believed in the philosophy of enabling strong private sector participation in developing the economy and has therefore taken initiatives that would enhance private sector growth to create employment.
The Wa Municipal Chief Executive, Alhaji Issahaku Tahiru Moomin, was thankful Unilever Foundation was assisting the country’s policy objective of reducing poverty and to creating prosperity for the people.