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UN Women, Coca Cola Company 5by20 program launched in Cameroon

Linda Njikta is a Cameroonian fashion designer. She has a start-up which, in her own words, “is finding it difficult…

Linda Njikta is a Cameroonian fashion designer. She has a start-up which, in her own words, “is finding it difficult to fly”. Most women entrepreneurs in Cameroon face the same problem. They lack access to credit, they do not have business mentorship. In short, we have talents but lack the knowledge and finance to earn a living out of them, says Njikta.

She however says all that is about to change. She is among 1000 beneficiaries of a women economic empowerment program which has just been launched in Cameroon.

Cameroon’s ministry of women empowerment and the family, in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Women Empowerment, UN Women, and the Coca Cola Company, launched the flagship program in Yaounde on June 20. The program is codenamed 5by20 and aims to economically empower 5million women entrepreneurs worldwide by 2020

Marie Therese Abena Ondoa Obama, Women empowerment minister, chaired the launch. Adama Moussa, Country Director for UN Women Cameroon, Emmanuel De Tailly, Director General of SABC and Guy Epesse Epesse, Coca Cola Director of Operations at SABC were the key speakers at the event.

Emmanuel De Taily of SABC, Cameroon’s brewery company, said the worldwide project of the Coca Cola Company aims at empowering the said number of Women by incorporating them through the company’s global value chain. The selected women would be given support through facilitated access to business skills and life training; access to finance and financial services; access to mentors and business networks.

Guy Epesse Epesse, Coca Cola Director of Operations at SABC said 1000 women in the cities of Yaounde and Douala will benefit from the pilot phase of the project. After the training, he said, 500 of the trainees would receive start up kits for the sale of soft drinks.

Before the June 20 official launching, some activities had already been carried out by the women empowerment ministry, UN Women and SABC which are implementing the program.

Minister Ondoa told guests at launch attended by representatives of many local women empowerment NGOs and associations, that the government holds the project in high esteem because it falls in line with Cameroon’s women empowerment objectives. She noted that it goes a long way to contribute to UN Women Cameroon’s 2013-2017 strategic note and national priorities included in the National Gender Policy geared towards women economic empowerment.

Adama Moussa, UN Women Country Representative for his part, noted that the project is one of the impactful initiatives which UN Women give priority to. “No country can reach its potential without empowering women. The evidence is on recent statistics that we all have. When a woman is educated, the family, community, country and the world at large benefits. I want to thank everyone who has worked or is working for the success of this project which will enable girls and women to be able to create and run their own businesses;” he said.

Meanwhile Linda Njikta was given the floor to speak on behalf of women who are already taking advantage of the program. She noted that it is a solution to their major problems and pledged they would also train younger girls in their communities to widen the trickle-down effect.

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