Unilever Nigeria Plc has concluded arrangements with Kaduna State Government to launch initiatives targeted at improving the economy of the state.
Â The initiative, â€˜Knorr Force for Goodâ€™ and Women Empowerment Shakti which are centred on women and teenage girls in the state would boost the livelihood of the concerned and promote their physical wellbeing.
Â Shakti is a women empowerment programme that seeks to address unemployment and reduce poverty by offering support to Â women who have entrepreneurial drive but with no access to funds while â€˜Knorr Force For Goodâ€™ is a social mission initiative that seeks to create awareness and champion the fight against iron deficiency amongst women and their daughters while also educating them on nutritional cooking skills through a behavioural change programme.
Â Speaking at Government Girls Secondary School, Gwazo, Kaduna, where the deal was sealed, Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Aisha Ummi Garba El-Rufaâ€™l expressed delight over the partnership, describing it as timely and needful. She thanked the management of the company for choosing the state and expressed confidence in the positive impact the partnership would yield to both parties.
Â â€œThe women of Kaduna State are most elated that Unilever Nigeria Plc places high premium on nutrition and women empowerment. This partnership will go a long way in addressing poor nutrition and improving the livelihood of women in the state,â€ she enthused.
Â Senior Vice President of the organisation, Savoury Cathryn Sleight,Â explained that the partnership was one that the company truly valued as it aligned with the companyâ€™s vision of improvingÂ lives.
Â â€œWe believe that businesses must be part of the solution to social challenges, and this is why our business model focuses on tackling issues the world faces with our brands and operations. Weâ€™re working with key partners all over the world to shine a light on some of the global issues that impact the planet and everyone on it.Â This awareness is what we are spreading across various states in Nigeria and we intend to do more,â€ Sleight said.
Â Referencing the World Health Organisation, WHO, Unilever Marketing Director, Foods, Nsima Ogedi-Alakwe observed that majority ofÂ adolescent girls and womenÂ did not meet the iron requirements of 20 milligrams per day as recommended by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), hence the companyâ€™s interest in the â€˜Knorr Force For Good project â€˜which underscores the importance of vegetables in meals.
Â â€œWe are happy that this partnership allows us to further our advocacy for iron-enriched meals as a means to fighting iron deficiency anemia,â€ she said.
Â At the event, students were trained on simple and easy ways to cook nutritious meals that would help them fight iron deficiency anemia.
Â Also, the Shakti women entrepreneurs were trained on basic finance skills and empowered with means to set up own businesses including start off â€˜loanâ€™ of the companyâ€™s products.
Â Unilever Women Empowerment Manager in Nigeria, Mrs. Aviv Okwonkwo added that â€œSHAKTIâ€™s objective is to lift womenâ€™s self-esteem, confidence and their abilities to support themselves and their families. The programme has successfully moved women who were earning next to nothing to micro-entrepreneurs earning a steady income. It is thus helping to create jobs in rural communities, providing these communities with brands to improve their overall hygiene and nutrition.â€
SHAKTI which started with 100 beneficiaries in Oyo State, now has over 2000 women registered in 10 states across Nigeria, including Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Imo, Ebonyi, Benue, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo and now Kaduna.
The event was graced by top government officials, dignitaries and top management staff of the company.
Lions Club Celebrates Fruitful Service Year
The district 404b2 of the Nigerian chapter of the Lions Club International has craved government support to enable it to deliver activities smoothly.
The immediate past District Governor of district 404b2, Lion Esv. TaiwoÂ Adewunmi made this plea at the district end of theÂ year thanksgivingÂ at St. Leo Catholic Church, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to the former DG, while the clubs are complementing governmentâ€™s effort to uplift the society, they could only discharge effectively with the authorityâ€™s cooperation.
â€œNo doubt we need government intervention in all ways, more importantly, we want government to give us the liberty to carry out our initiatives. You can imagine that if we need to plant a tree in a school or dig a borehole and even donate educational materials, we will be asked to get government approval which does not come so cheap,â€ he pointed out.
Adewunmi reiterated the clubs commitment to serve humanity, adding that district 404b2 in particular had concluded plans to execute not less than N100 million worth of projects within its jurisdiction.
â€œFor us at district 404b2, we shall be pursuing five key projects in the New Year and these include engaging the youth through empowerment, advocacy and enlightenment; sight preservation, protection of the environment; relieving hunger and diabetes screening and awareness campaign,â€ he said.
He also called on other individuals to join in the cause of saving and serving humanity which is the core objective of the clubs. He urged government to come up with favourable policies that will favour an average Nigerian especially in this trying period.
Identifying membership as the major challenge of the association, followed by funding and inadequate publicity, the districtâ€™s Cabinet Secretary, Lion (Engr.) Terese Ihenachor stated that the clubs needed more members across the federation to deliver even beyond expectations.
â€œIt may interest you to know that there are over 1.5 million lions in the world; India alone boasts of more than 3000 members but in Nigeria, we have less than 7000 members in all the 4 districts. Despite the fact that we have rich and impactful projects in mind, we need more hands to be able to deliver our initiatives far better,â€ he said.
Ihenachor added that the essence of the thanksgiving service was to appreciate God for a well spent year and also commit the new service year into the hand of the Almighty.