The Coca-Cola Company and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) have joined forces to bolster the educational and economic opportunities of more than 10,000 marginalised girls and young women in Nigeria.
Together, The Coca-Cola Company and DFID will invest nearly £7 million in an initiative known as “ENGINE” (Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises). The investment comes as part of the UK Government’s Girls’ Education Challenge and The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 initiative, which seeks to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million female entrepreneurs across the global Coca-Cola value chain by 2020.
Justine Greening, the UK International Development Secretary said:
Research has shown that girls with an education have healthier children and reinvest 90 per cent of income in their family and their community. By capitalising on the business expertise of The Coca-Cola Company and other enterprises, we are helping girls realise their full potential and ultimately build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities.
ENGINE will establish over 170 learning spaces where girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 19 will meet for academic support and training sessions over a nine-month period. Approximately 5,400 girls who are still in school will receive after-school tutoring, as well as training to advance their leadership and entrepreneurship skills. Additionally, a vocational training programme focused on business and employment readiness will be offered to approximately 12,600 young women who are currently out of school. Young women who complete the vocational training programme will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of employment opportunities, including receiving assistance to set up their own businesses as micro-retailers of Coca-Cola and d.light products.
The global humanitarian agency Mercy Corps will manage the implementation of ENGINE, with support from the Nike Foundation, solar social enterprise d.light and other partners.
Adeola Adetunji, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited said:
At Coca-Cola, we believe that our business is only as strong and sustainable as the communities in which we operate, and that investing in women’s education and careers spurs economic growth and fosters sustainable development. This partnership demonstrates Coca-Cola’s belief that many of the world’s most pressing challenges can best be addressed by governments, business and civil society working together as partners to create lasting, sustainable solutions.
Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Corps said:
ENGINE and other similar programmes generate what we call shared value: businesses and communities recognising their common interests and working together to accomplish what neither could have achieved alone. This program engages not only the girls and young women who take part, but also their families, schools and community leaders, creating positive role models to inspire young women, no matter where life takes them.