Nokia in partnership with UN Women has launched a training program for survivors of gender-based violence in South Africa to strengthen their financial independence.
The announcement coincides with this year’s United Nations 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence (GBV). The six-week training program will be conducted by Nokia volunteers in collaboration with UN Women and will see 100 women from across Gauteng in South Africa participate with a focus on digital skills, entrepreneurship, personal branding and creating their professional CVs and preparing for interviews, among other skills. The women were identified taking into consideration their individual needs based on the outcomes of a survey conducted by UN Women through a third party.
The afore-mentioned survey revealed that financial dependency on their perpetrators is a key reason why women remain in abusive relationships. The majority of the women surveyed come from very low socio-economic backgrounds, are aged between 20 and 30, and none of them are in full-time employment, with only very few employed part-time. They have generally been unemployed and are members of households of five persons where on average less than one in five individuals have been employed in the last three months.
Furthermore, most program participants expressed a desire to be entrepreneurs, which is why the Nokia volunteers have focused on, for example, assisting the women to build professional individualized digital profiles and CVs which will help them to be accepted into learning institutions and jobs to close the skill and experience gap they have. Most of the women are single mothers with an income that shows they live below the breadline, which means basic first world things such as access to the internet are part of their daily struggle.
The UN Women and Nokia program will therefore focus on the financial enablement of women through skills development to improve their employability and enable them to become entrepreneurs.
This program forms part of the global Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Nokia and Anita Bhatia, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, which guides the partnership as Nokia seeks to promote inclusion and diversity in society. Nokia has also become a signatory to the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a set of principles offering guidance on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community.
By Nthabi Mokitimi-Dlamini