De Beers And UN Women Empower Women In Limpopo
Diamond explorer and producer, De Beers Group and gender equality champion, United Nations Entity for Women for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) South Africa recently launched a capacity-building programme aimed at equipping 500 women micro-entrepreneurs in the Blouberg and Musina communities, near De Beers’ Venetia Mine in Limpopo, with business management and life skills. The objective is to build capacity and confidence to operate and grow successful small businesses.
The programme, which is scheduled to facilitate the first phase of workshops in October 2018, will provide training to enhance understanding of business concepts including accessing markets, increasing market share, generating income, creating jobs, and supporting effective decision-making, communication and negotiation skills.
The programme, has the potential to deliver tangible results and benefit the community through the increased economic empowerment, will also play a crucial role to women micro-entrepreneurs as they find it difficult to access conventional mechanisms that support business growth, said the company in a statement.
Mpumi Zikalala, Deputy CEO of De Beers Consolidated Mines, said: “In each of the areas we have selected, high levels of unemployment persist, and formal job opportunities are
limited. When we empower women business owners, we empower entire communities as women are more likely to reinvest a greater portion of their profits into the community and actively support the creation of jobs for others.”
Following to Zikalala’s comment, Anne Shongwe, UN Women Representative, and South Africa Multi-Country Office said that “while many programmes exist to support entrepreneurs, it is important to consider the unique challenges that women micro-entrepreneurs in particular face. They are often the engine that keeps their businesses running – as the only brains and the hands of the businesses – with immense responsibilities in their households. These women need a hand up”, thus the programme.
De Beers Group and UN Women are working with the municipalities and local stakeholders to finalise the preliminary phase of the programme. The capacity-building model will use a ‘train the trainer’ approach whereby sixteen local trainers, eight of which are from the Blouberg and Musina municipalities will be trained by the De Beers and UN Women teams to offer ongoing support to the programme participants to implement skills gained, build access to peer support, and gradually reduce support from the programme to ensure self-sustenance. Sixteen local trainers have been identified, eight of which are from the Blouberg and Musina municipalities.
Training for the first group of women micro-entrepreneurs, which will consist of 60 enterprises that include retail, catering, agriculture, spaza shops and manufacturing businesses, is due to take place in November 2018.
De Beers Group will invest $3-million to advance women micro-entrepreneurs and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students in its diamond producing countries of Canada, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.