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Truss Empowerment Foundation: Empowering women, youths to thrive

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Without a doubt, as Nigeria continues to rank as the country with the most people living in extreme poverty globally, it suggests that there is an urgent need to save the people from their economic woes.

One of many ways that the governments and organisations can contribute their quota is by lending a hand of help to the poor and indigent in the society. This has remained the primary focus and vision of Truss Empowerment Foundation.

In this interview, the founder, Truss Empowerment Foundation, Azukaego Chukwuelue, talks about the vision of the foundation, inequality, plans for 2021, and how women and youths can thrive economically.

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Why was Truss Empowerment Foundation set up

Truss Empowerment Foundation is a vehicle through which we firmly hold that any society will experience real change where women and children are fulfilled; where they can express themselves without reservation or prejudice and where men and boys are committed partners in realizing that ideal.

The female gender comes with essential innate roles; some other roles result from a unique combination of circumstances and events while individuals, generally, also have personal expectations they desire to achieve. A staggering percentage of the women and children population live below standard economic conditions.

The blend of these roles, desires, and conditions creates a complex labyrinth that requires painstaking attention. The complexity intensifies with the degree of stereotypes that plagues the individual and society. The dearth of information, preparation, knowledge or adequate truss cause many women and children to fail.

This compounds societal problems and creates painfully slow development. Truss Empowerment Foundation exists to support, empower, connect, and educate women and children at all levels and to help them live up to their potentials while addressing core issues that impede their performance and expression.

What drives this foundation?

Our goal will foster inclusion and make all equal partners in solving problems and sustaining development now and for coming generations.

We seek to eliminate the gender gap, poor economic condition, neglect of natural abilities and talents and other vices that limit women and children.

We believe that the most pressing needs for women and children are to attain skills for entrepreneurship, employability and leadership and for those who have it to be able to freely express themselves without any limitation whatsoever; that gap is where we target to fill at Truss Empowerment Foundation. We also partner with relevant organizations to support women and children across all sectors and at all levels.

Our tagline, #BEKNOWNBEHEARD, speaks to a world where women and children have a voice that is heard and respected.

We also aim to carry the larger society along by inspiring the populace to rethink how women and children are perceived and treated so that we can collectively move forward in a powerful and unified way to confront the problems that threaten our society.

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What are Truss Empowerment Foundation’s plans for 2021? 

Our flagship program: The Truss Supply Chain Mastery commencing in June is targeted at building the skills and capabilities needed for young graduates, entry and mid-level career professionals, and entrepreneurs to rise to the top of their careers and businesses and make meaningful contributions.

As made evident by the pandemic, we need to stop viewing the supply chain as a solitary entity and think about how a lean and integrated supply chain can help countries and organizations achieve their commercial objectives.

The supply chain relates to the demand, planning, sourcing, making, storing delivery, manning, and financing of goods and services and impact every aspect of life.

Why are you holding the Truss Supply Chain Mastery?

It is a known fact that the Issues relating to food security, infrastructural gaps, health care, manufacturing, poor sourcing sessions, and much more in Nigeria are a result of the lack of in-depth knowledge of the processes of the supply chain and the sparse availability of professionals with a broad spectrum of business knowledge.

At the organization, we have plans to train professionals who can influence change in both Strategic and tactical operations and play important roles in solving Supply chain problems.

The Truss Supply Chain Mastery program is a technology-driven and simulated learning program. It adopts the dynamics of learning through experience where participants can practice business-related concepts and thinking.

It would empower women to generate business insight, learn and share knowledge, understand supply chain processes, acquire robust business skills, translate skills to competencies, and hone their entrepreneurial skills.

The program also provides women stuck on the corporate ladder the right knowledge and skills needed to transcend to leadership roles. The program is such that participants work in small teams with a mentor possessing a broad business overview through a simulated learning process, to help better understand the needs, abilities, and support required by each participant.

Women-focused teams would also include few men to imitate real-world team dynamics aiding understanding of equality, diversity, and inclusion in a D-VUCA-D (Diverse- Volatile – Uncertain – Complex- Ambiguous and disruptive operating environment) Supply Chains are about optimizing the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets, and departments to customers.

A look at the digital transformation going on across industries reveals that consumer behaviour has changed. Now customers expect real-time feedback when operating with companies, faster delivery times, service transparency, and technology-driven innovation with the resultant outcome that their needs are met more efficiently.

As a nation with a 70% youthful population, we must harness the youths to build capability towards areas useful for national development.

Another program is the Re-imagine Education children’s funfair. It is aimed at teaching life skills to children and empowering the younger generation with entrepreneurial minds to create, innovate, and leverage technology.

This program occurs annually and this year, we have plans to harness the technological tools available now like those that aid virtual learning processes which would further expose the children to life skill training, fun, learning, and safety education.

There will be engaging and creative activities that contribute to the children’s learning and development in a relaxed, flexible environment. It promises to be exciting and educating. There would be Trivia, Talent Hunts, and Life Skill Sessions, and Live performances.

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What has the experience been in empowering young people?

The experience has been great and one of a kind. Few months after the easing of the lockdown, we had a supply chain internship where professionals across the private sector gave their time to teach supply chain courses And how to run business operations in classroom sessions. This was followed by a capstone project where the mentees took their learnings to an SMME to review how the business is run and bring up Areas of improvement and best practices that can be shared.

It was a pilot program and was open for registration for a few days. We got young people with vibrant minds who also had ideas to share.

In the end, they knew so much about the supply chain space and they are currently working on building their careers in the supply chain space. The idea of that birthed the Truss Supply Chain Mastery.

There is also the Women Driver’s Initiative. Seeing that the transport sector is currently male-dominated, we established a partnership with Jhaki, an online ‘Uber for trucks’ platform to engage women drivers on the truck driving track.

This ended up building resilient and self-motivated women who survived during the pandemic because they overcome their fears. We started the #BeKnownBeHeard Campaign and a conference to connect women to opportunities in the tech space. At a time, we had the opportunity to train women on entrepreñeuship using industrial soap making in the Tarkwa Bay community and bespoke event decoration and Planning in partnership with Courage Design and Events.

The skills were the vehicle to reach the women about their financials, cost, expenses, breakdown point, gross margins etc with a focus on business sustainability. Large numbers of women are out there eager to learn a skill or two but as a result of certain limitations, have not had the opportunity to do so Over time, we have been opportune to help bridge these gap and bring these skills to the women. Having the right self-esteem can go a long way in achieving your goals, especially amongst women whose circles have streamlined their role to procreation. Another campaign ‘Inspired By a Shero’ in partnership with the Lagos Women Run was done to help drive self-confidence amongst women.

Finally, for every re-imagine education children’s funfair that has happened, we have been able to play a role in making children own their development and nurture their innate skills in positioning them as solution providers.

How many people have benefitted from these empowerment programmes?

A total of 7000+ women and girls have benefitted from these empowerment programs as well as 250+ children.

What do you see as the greatest challenge of a young person with lofty dreams in Nigeria?

The policies made in Nigeria do not support the lofty dreams of every young person in Nigeria. We need laws that will be enforced to protect the rights of: Education to add value by creating meaningful employment.

Government policies and legislations to support the growth of SMME and other entrepreneurs to grow Nigeria’s economy.

Women against gender-based violence and assault.

Businesses (start-ups) do not have the right platform and support to thrive, and we cannot tell how well international companies will do in Nigeria due to the tough business environment. Of greater concern remains the dynamic changes in policies and the opportunity for consistency.

Those who have resources act with decadent and reprobate tendencies, paying their way through situations and leveraging crony connections in the absence of competence, leaving the competent ones who also have the right skills needed to fight for a seat at a table filled with biased decisions and no seat at the table.


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