The Coca-Cola Company, together with the UK Department for International Development and local partners, undertook a multifaceted effort to educate and economically empower marginalized Nigerian girls, who face significant social and cultural barriers to realizing their potentials.
The program offered training, mentoring, and support to girls aged 16-19 in four Nigerian states who were out of school or at risk of dropping out of school or facing an early marriage. An important component involved efforts to shift traditional norms among community leaders and others, to help open up opportunities for girls.
This report from Georgetown’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security – which reviewed evaluations of the program – concluded that the results were encouraging on a number of fronts.
More than 10,000 out-of-school participants (out of 13,024) were linked to employment as a result of the program, with more than half joining the Coca-Cola value chain. Program participants were more likely to run their own business or manage a business, hold a savings account, and report higher levels of self confidence and better knowledge of the skills required to run a small business compared to non-participants.
“The results highlight the potential to empower girls, even in very challenging circumstances, with the support of partners that deliberately address overlapping constraints,” said Dr. Jeni Klugman, managing director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. “We also welcome the focus on rigorous evaluation of the program, to better understand what works, as well as persistent constraints.”
The Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE) program is part of The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 program, designed to leverage the company’s resources and reach to empower five million female entrepreneurs along its value chain by 2020.
“Women and girls are a central pillar in global development,” said Ambassador Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. “Many companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, have been playing leadership roles to improve the status of women, to accelerate economic opportunities, and to enhance sustainable development.”
The ENGINE program ran from 2014-2016 and involved multiple partners: The Coca-Cola Company, Nigerian Bottling Company, Mastercard Foundation, Nike Foundation, and the UK Department for International Development’s Girls’ Education Challenge. Mercy Corps led the implementation of ENGINE, with support from Girl Effect Nigeria, d.light solar social enterprise, Action Health Incorporated, Community Action for Popular Participation, and Society for Women and Development and the Empowerment of Nigeria. Reports and data were collected by Preston Health Care Consulting Ltd.
Photo Credit: Corinna Robbins/Mercy Corps