The Mercy Corpsâ€™ Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises, ENGINE, program has really impacted positively in my life and many other girls.
This was the summation of Elizabeth Adeniyi, one of the beneficiaries of the ENGINE program in Lagos, Nigeria who has been able to grow her small scale business from two crates of Coca-Cola soft drinks to 64 crates. As a result of how well she has done so far, Elizabeth will be featuring in Mercy Corps worldwide video shooting.
“I am full of appreciation to Mercy Corps,Â Action Health Incorporated, UKaid, ENGINE and Coca-Cola for giving me the opportunity of starting a business. It gives me joy looking back at where I was coming from. They have really done so many great things in my life likewise many other girls.â€ť
Also, Elizabeth, who was a school dropout has decided to go back to school by enrolling herself in extramural classes. “I truly agree that female education contributes to economic growth, reduced poverty, and other social and environmental benefits.”
According to the acting Program Coordinator, Margaritta Omojola,Â the Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE) programme is directed at improving the learning outcomes and economic status of 18,000 disadvantaged out-of-school adolescent girls between the ages of 16 and 19 years in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Nigeria. The programme is sponsored by the United Kingdomâ€™s Department for International Development’s Girls’ Education Challenge, GEC and the Coca-Cola Company.
Action Health Incorporated is one of the implementing partners for the project and the programme has been able to empower 7,252 girls who graduated from various vocational trainings out of the 9, 125 out of school girls enrolled for cycle 1&2. 800 were linked for apprenticeship, 5, 474 have been helped to open accounts while 3, 087 were trained on the Coca-Cola value chain and given assets and products.
2, 053 were trained on vocational skills like bead making, catering, make-up and Gele tying, Tie and Dye among others in Bariga, Somolu, Kosofe, Ojo, Epe and Alimosho areas of Lagos with additionl training in business, leadership, and financial management skills.
According to ENGINE Program Manager, Shweta Shah, community leaders too were involved. “We identified centers for the trainings, trained community members to serve as coordinators and mentors, and enrolled 9, 125 disadvantaged out-of-school girls into the programme receiving academic tutoring, as well as employment readiness skills including financial education, business education, and life and leadership skills.
Based on interactions with some of them, some of the girls are already into petty trading and the financial education class really helped them to discover what their strengths are and how to use these strengths to make money wisely.
Representatives of government ministries like women and poverty alleviation, WAPA, youth and sports, SUBEB and others commended Mercy Corps for the program for so many potentials the training have given the girls, making them to be educated while the future looks brighter for them, their families and communities.
According to Abiose Haruna, some ENGINE activities are aimed at ensuring that marginalised in-school girls improve their learning outcomes in a supportive environment by participating in weekly Safe Space activities over a nine-month period to receive academic tutoring as well as employment readiness skills including financial education and leadership skills.Â “Increase girlsâ€™ economic assets and their influence on household decision making through access to education, increased learning, and direct linkages to economic activities.”
ENGINE also enrol out-of-school marginalised girls into six-month education cycles to increase their business and entrepreneurial skills. After completing the education cycle they can choose to enter the Coca-Cola value chain as micro-retailers or explore other business or employment avenues. Through direct receipt of Coca-Cola assets (in the form of specialised training, direct receipt of Coca-Cola selling infrastructure, and on-going mentoring and support) girls will benefit from increased incomes.
Work with gatekeepers to enable girls access to and involvement in learning and economic opportunities. These interventions are critical to ensure girls can engage, enrol, and stay in education and actively participate in income-generating activities to increase her standing in the household. Gatekeepers can include husbands, mothers, fathers, mothers-in-law, male relatives as well as faith and traditional leaders
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