BY CHIOMA UMEHA
The fourth phase of the Nestlé Empowering Rural Women in Nigeria Project was recently launched in Port Harcourt, and it is helping more rural women in Nigeria gain financial security and raise their standard of living. At a ceremony that included several training sessions, 50 additional beneficiaries from the South South region of the country who were chosen from the company's value chain were admitted to the program.
Nestlé Nigeria's Commercial Manager, Mr. Khaled Ramadan, said at the training and induction session in Port Harcourt, "We are happy to fulfill our promise of expanding Nestlé Empowering Rural Women in Nigeria Project to reach more women in other parts of Nigeria. The 150 people currently utilizing the project have made good progress thus far, and we are happy with that.
The recipients of the training and guidance offered by Nestlé and her implementation partners, FDConsults, report quicker turnover, higher revenue, and better visibility of their outlets within their communities. We are therefore confident that the additional 50 retailers in South South who have been chosen will also fully benefit from the assistance we are offering through grants, mentoring, and training.
The female retailers who make up the beneficiaries will receive grants equal to 300 percent of their monthly sales of Nestlé products. Additionally, they will take part in mentoring and training programs that will help them expand their businesses and raise their household incomes.
The Nestlé Empowering Rural Women project is such an amazing initiative, said Mr. Phranklin Audu, Head, Partnerships & Training at FDConsults in his remarks at the induction and training for the new beneficiaries. It is quite encouraging to see the development and growth that the women have experienced in the various states where the project is already active.
We are discussing growth that can be seen. Grade-C merchants include moving up the distribution ladder and, more importantly, increasing their sales turnovers, which results in higher individual incomes for the women. The project's creators and the entire project team deserve praise for maintaining their commitment to the cause.
Joyce Nwaiwo, one of the beneficiaries, thanked Nestlé and said, "I feel so happy about this opportunity. It still seems impossible to me that this is real; it feels more like a dream. I want to thank Nestlé very much.
The Nestlé Empowering Rural Women in Nigeria Project's goal is to assist rural women retailers in growing their companies to a size that is up to three times larger than what it currently is. It is one of the Creating Shared Value programs Nestlé uses to support the development of thriving communities by enhancing the standard of living.
The project's mentoring and training elements are made available by FDConsults, a company with a proven track record of assisting rural residents in gaining access to knowledge and skills to raise their standard of living. To ensure their success, each beneficiary retailer is assigned a mentor who will provide them with three months of consistent support and one-on-one guidance.
The first 50 female beneficiaries were brought into the project from the suburbs of Abuja in August 2021, marking the beginning of the project in North Central Nigeria. The project relocated to the South West in November of last year and added 50 new beneficiaries, chosen from the Oshogbo, Ede, and Ilesha region of Osun State. The Nsukka and Obolo-Afo axis of Enugu State contributed 50 inductees in February of this year, which benefited the South East.
With the recent addition of 50 more participants to the project in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, 200 women have now been served as a result of the initiative. Before the end of 2022, the program hopes to have reached 300 women across the nation.