On March 10th, 2017, Nigerian writer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and UN volunteer and ambassador, Unyime Ivy-King unveiled her new non-governmental organization, Save our Women and Girls Foundation (SOW & G), at Oakwood Park Hotels, Lekki, Lagos. The NGO aims to train, mentor, educate, and empower underprivileged girls and women in Nigeria by teaching them skills like catering and jewelry-making so they can start their own cottage businesses.
The idea behind SOW & G sprung from a successful project entitled Women Empowerment Skills Training (WEST). More than 100 women engaged in a two-week training seminar in Uyo, Nigeria, where they were equipped with homemaking and various soft skills allowing them to support themselves. The pilot event sparked some of its participants to jump start home-based businesses of their own, many of which are still in operation today.
As both a highly-educated woman and successful writer, King is passionate about women speaking up and standing in solidarity with other women, as a unified world results in a better society for everyone. King also speaks as an UN ambassador working to instill change and a belief that women are the key to fostering positive change.
“Women collaborate to do things,” comments King to Vanguard. “Great and mighty things happen in the nation. Women are incubators, and whatever you give to them multiplies beyond what you imagine. As soon as we begin to understand the powers we have and take hold of it, then a lot of things will begin to change. We must change the social conditioning we give to our daughters where we relegate the girl child to the kitchen and the boys aspire to be doctors, engineers, lawyers, etc.”
As King’s brainchild, SOW & G also works to foster social and developmental awareness on issues faced by many of Nigeria’s women and girls, as well as raise money towards reputable NGOs focused on gender advocacy. “The foundation will focus on training, mentoring, educating, and building the capacity of women and girls in Nigeria, and also raising funds to support credible NGOs that are into gender advocacy, by deploying the method of crowd funding and strategic partnerships, with a team of respectable men and women to oversee its activities,” King explained to Vanguard.
The opening event for SOW & G, organized by King’s media and communication consultancy company, HTT Communications, led with the saying, “I am the Change,” in reference to the International Women’s Day theme, “Be Bold for Change.” Attendees and participants alike were deeply moved by the event, coming face-to-face with the sad realities that so many of Nigeria’s poverty-stricken women and girls endure.
For King, gender equality and empowerment results in positivity for the entire community. “The impact that one young woman, who is positively influenced makes, is like a key which unlocks the door for so many others,” King commented in an interview with Nigeria’s Daily Post.
King continued, “It is no longer news that from rural communities to corporate board rooms, women are transforming the world of business. A leadership shift to more women can influence our culture in positive ways. Let’s not take lightly the popular African axiom which says that when you educate or empower one woman, you educate/empower a nation and a generation. An empowered woman empowers humanity.”
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