lcatel-Lucent, Jumia, Celebrate International Women’s Day With Project Alert
RECOGNITION of the work of Project Alert on Violence Against Women, a non-governmental organisation came to fore on Wednesday when two corporate organisations, Alcatel-Lucent Nig. Ltd. and Jumia Nigeria celebrated with them this year’s International Women’s Day at two different events in Lagos. In the first event, a team of 25 women members of staff of Alcatel-Lucent, a global telecommunication equipment maker were at the Project Alert office to identify with and encourage them on their work on stemming violence against women. Founder and Executive Director of Project Alert, Dr. (Mrs.) Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, took them down memory lane on the experiences in the environment in her growing up days that shaped her current passion of standing up to violations of the rights of the female gender.
Effah-Chukwuma educated the women on the three programme areas of her organisation, namely: research and documentation; human rights education; and support services programmes of counselling services, legal aid and shelter for female victims of violence. She highlighted the various forms of violence against women, noting that it cuts across boundaries; and about 75 to 80 per cent absence of women at work is due to family issues, which implies that the cost on businesses is huge, and it leads to women being sent out of work. The executive director called for change in the line of cultural practices that promote violence on women, such as widowhood practices, female genital mutilation and preference for male child. Leader of the Alcatel-Lucent visiting women, Human Resources Director, Mrs. Adebimpe Ayo-Elias, expressed delight at the interactive forum, noting that the management of the company organised the visit to show support of the advocacy against violence against women.
Ayo-Elias said: “We are here to identify with Project Alert on the fact that they advocate against violence against women, encourage them in the work they are doing, and show that as an organisation, we also do not encourage violence against women.” She noted that the visit was revealing, and established the link between the issue of violence on women and its effect on businesses. “The experience is revealing. Listening to victims recount their stories here, it shows that there’s a lot of violence going on in the society. It calls on us who came here to be change agents and encourage women to report cases of violence against women. It also shows that individuals, corporate organisations and government need to support organisations like Project Alert to promote advocacy against violence on women.
“The issue of violence against women has a direct or indirect impact on any organisation. If your employees are not in the right frame of mind to actually carry out their duties, the company suffers…. Also, there is medical cost, if a woman suffers violence at the home front, which the organisation has to take care of.” She later presented, on behalf of the company, laptops, smartphones, and Internet broadband to Project Alert.
At the second occasion, Jumia Nigeria, a leading online retailer, partnered with Project Alert to celebrate the theme of “Empowering Women” with a presentation of independent, financial self-empowerment opportunities that are available in the company to the women in attendance. Among them were those drawn from Project Alert’s client organisations including Women’s Consortium, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), Alliance for Africa, Champions Club International, Gender Care Initiative, and Positive Life for Women, Head of Communications, Jumia Nigeria, Wunmi Onile-Ere, said that that the company found it necessary to use the celebration of the International Women’s Day to expose women to the programmes of the company that could empower them economically through selling their products.
Onile-Ere noted that the economic empowerment of women is important in the wellbeing of individuals and families considering that they are key functional part of the society. She said that Jumia believes in taking women along in its journey of growth, which began two years ago. “Jumia believes very much in empowering the environment around us. Just as we are growing, we want Nigeria to grow. The occasion of the International Women’s Day was coming, and we were already doing events to honour the women that are working in our company, who we have empowered – from one of our MDs who is a woman, the different heads of department and so on.