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Unilever launches livelihood empowerment project for women

By Charles Chedar, GNA

Wa, Nov 15, GNA – Unilever Ghana in collaboration with ProNet North has launched a livelihood empowerment project in Upper West (UW) to introduce women to entrepreneurial skills, to become financially independent.
The women, selected from rural communities in the Wa Municipality and three other districts in the region were trained in basic bookkeeping, financial management and savings principles.
This was done under an Indian ‘Shakti’ business model.
‘Shakti’ started in Unilever India in 2001 to create livelihood opportunities for underprivileged rural women.
It is reported to have provided over 80,000 micro-entrepreneur job opportunities in that country.
The launch of the project paved way for women who had signed on to it to receive a product loan of assorted Unilever items to sell.
They would keep the profit and restock from the capital regenerated.
Unilever Ghana’s Managing Director, Gladys Amoa, « 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 course, » she added.
The company has been able to reach out to millions of people with its Livebuoy hand-washing campaign which emphasizes the need to wash hands, to prevent diarrhea, cholera and other diseases.
« We have also been able to reach millions of people with our brush twice daily campaign – teaching children and adults alike the importance of brushing one’s teeth, » Mrs. Amoah said.
She encouraged the women to stay focused and work with determination to make their lives better.
Assorted Unilever products including salt, soaps, assorted Lipton tea bags and toothpastes were presented to the women to start their own businesses.
Mr Amidu Issahaku Chinnia, the Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, commended Unilever for the initiative and made reference to a recent survey report by the Ghana Statistics Service that put unemployment rate in the area at 18.4 per cent.
He said, 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 ».
Generating enough viable and reliable business capable of creating the needed jobs for the people has been the biggest challenge despite the region’s vast potentials in trade, agriculture and tourism.
Mr Chinnia said the government underlined the government’s commitment towards ensuring strong private sector participation in growing the economy, to create wealth and jobs.
The Wa Municipal Chief Executive, Alhaji Issahaku Tahiru Moomin, gave high marks to Unilever Foundation for identifying with efforts at reducing poverty.