Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited in partnership with Whitefield Foundation has empowered over 20,000 individuals with business skills across the 36 states of Nigeria through the Special Intervention Program (SIP). Following the completion of the program this month, a closing ceremony was held on Monday, May 3rd.
The Special Intervention Program (SIP) is an innovative empowerment initiative developed by Whitefield Foundation and sponsored by Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited. The initiative is part of the company’s effort to improve and support the livelihood of young Nigerians following the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which hit in 2020. The SIP program, which held virtually over the course of one year, was targeted at helping youth and women younger than 45 years of age across Nigeria.
Present at the closing ceremony were key dignitaries including the Chairman of Yaba LCDA, Hon. Kayode Omiyale; Vice-Chairman Yaba LCDA, Hon. Alhaji Bolanle Aileru; Whitefield Foundation Trustee, Dr. Oladoyin Sagoe; Founder of Whitefield Foundation, Olufunmilola Johnson; Director Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe; Senior Manager, Social Impact Strategy for Africa Operating Unit, Coca-Cola, Uche Ogbonna; and Chairman of Agriculture & Agro-Allied Group, Africanfarmer Mogaji.
In his opening speech, Vice-Chairman, Yaba LCDA, Hon. Alhaji Bolanle Aileru, who represented the Chairman remarked, “I applaud Coca-Cola and Whitefield Foundation for filling a gap in our community by engaging our youths and women. It is evident that partnerships and collaborations fuel outstanding results”. He also highlighted that the turnout from the communities was truly impressive and that Coca-Cola and Whitefield Foundation both exceeded expectations.
The closing ceremony featured the recognition of the individuals who had benefited from the program. Across the 36 states, people were trained and lectured in topics covering building a successful career, jobs of the future, business as a legal entity, customer service, funding your business, IT, the business of agriculture, catering, domestic essentials, and many more.
By the end of the program on April 16, 2021, participants had completed three different stages of courses comprising over 50 AudioVisual lessons which had over 1,000,000 page views on the website. The virtual training was taught by seasoned facilitators in their respective fields.
Speaking at the event, Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe explained, “At Coca-Cola, we are proud of the remarkable achievements of this program. As a company, we understand that 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but it taught us innovation and opened our hearts to more acts of kindness to upscale what we do within our communities. We recognized that unemployment rates were on the rise with the poverty rates reaching a peak, and as a socially-responsible company focused on refreshing the world, we are also committed to making a difference in the lives of people and communities”.
A beneficiary from the training, Anu Oshilaja, founder of Annyz Fabric Bags, shared her life-changing story on the impact of the program and the funding she had received to further her business. As a token of her appreciation, she gifted beautifully hand-crafted bags to the women dignitaries at the event.
Founder, Whitefield Foundation, Olufunmilola Johnson, in her closing remarks stated, “We are excited by the success of The Special Intervention Program (SIP) and this initiative was born out of the need to help make more successful people who will grow our economy in Nigeria. We are focused on addressing seven UN Sustainable Development Goals covering no poverty, gender equality, zero hunger, quality education, partnerships, economic growth, and responsible consumption and production. We appreciate Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, who deemed us worthy of achieving this feat”. She thanked all stakeholders including the government officials, the facilitators of the classes, Coca-Cola executives, and the participants.
At the end of the event, 50 individuals were announced to receive N30,000 each to fund their business registration and start creating value for themselves. The ceremony ended with immense gratitude and joy from the beneficiaries who expressed their heartfelt gratitude to Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited as well as Whitefield Foundation for their support.
The SIP Program was part of Coca-Cola Nigeria’s COVID-19 Intervention following the impact of the pandemic on the Nigerian economy. This intervention saw the company fund several community-based initiatives focused on aiding the economic recovery of residents from the adverse effects of the pandemic.