TD Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading distributor of tech, lifestyle and cutting-edge solutions has unveiled plans to engender a mindset shift and contribute to harnessing the latent potential of Nigeria’s burgeoning female population by empowering over 10 million women by 2025.
Disclosing the laudable initiative on Thursday, January 20, 2022 was Chief Executive, TD Africa, Mrs. Chioma Ekeh.
The first group of beneficiaries of the women empowerment initiative were the wives of junior employees drawn from TD Africa and other companies in the Zinox Group. To flag off the project, the women had earlier toured the office facilities in Gbagada followed by another elaborate tour of the state-of-the-art Tech Experience Centre located in Yudala Heights, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Mrs. Ekeh, while receiving the first set of beneficiaries at Yudala Heights, charged them to channel their minds with positive thoughts and be courageous to take firm actions, regardless of the circumstances. She used the peculiar traits of the TD Africa brand symbol – depicted by a lion head known as Simba, as staff of the company are addressed – as an analogy to buttress her point.
"Women must remain strong, courageous, and tenacious, just like the Simba. As the bedrock of society, they should never allow their past experiences, no matter how bad, dictate their future. They must take learnings from the experiences and rise above their challenges.’’
Further, Mrs. Ekeh urged the women to steer clear of unnecessary distractions and unhealthy competition with no one.
“Continually work on improving yourself, all the time. That is enough. The results will show in good time too....
‘‘…It is also important to have the "I can do" mindset. It is only in the DOING that the deeds get done. So, get up and go. Go do it. As important as money is, empowerment is not all about that. Sharing ideas, sharing authentic stories, training, mentoring are some other more enduring ways to empower,’’ she counselled.
Speaking on the objectives and vision of the project, Mrs. Ekeh stated it will positively affect millions of women in the coming years, while urging them to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that abound from the initiative.
Research estimates from premier data platform Knoema indicate that in 2021, the female population for Nigeria stood at about 104 million. Over the last 50 years, the female population in Nigeria grew substantially from 29.3 million to 104 million persons, rising at an increasing annual rate that reached a maximum of 2.98% in 1978 and then decreased to 2.54% in 2021. Women, by virtue of their nature, also play essential care-giving and grooming roles in the society.
Mrs. Ekeh is of the view that the foregoing makes a conscious effort to engage this gender of utmost and critical importance. ‘‘Empowering a woman means empowering the family, the community, the society and the entire country. That one woman will teach many people; from siblings, to offsprings, to in-laws and to all she encounters. Why waste this rich resource we can put to good use?” she queried.
‘‘We hope to impact at least 10 million women in the space of two to three years and these empowered women will empower a whole lot more in the world. It is not all about money," she concluded.
As part of the session, the management team of TD Africa comprising the Coordinating Managing Director, Mrs. Chioma Chimere; Managing Director, Sales, Mrs. Gozy Ijogun; Head of Tech Experience Centre, Chidalu Ekeh; Mrs. Kelechi Nwamara and Mrs. Foluke Morakinyo of the Human Resource unit had a one-on-one conversation with each of the beneficiaries to understand their means of livelihood and identify the challenges. The exercise was for proper documentation and to proffer customised solutions.
Reactions from participants showed their excitement from the exposure and optimism for a better future. The women, who are mostly petty traders, couldn't hide their expectations with respect to gaining access to mentorship and other forms of support for their businesses.
A shoe seller, Mrs. Macbeth Stella said the experience was very inspiring and highly motivating. "I'm very happy to be here. I feel encouraged and hopeful that coming here will boost my spirit to do my business better and be very supportive to my husband. I'm very grateful for the opportunity," she enthused.
Another respondent expressed delight at the possibility of securing access to seed funds or soft loans to aid her business. "My name is Chika Lilian Gabriel. I was able to learn so many things and also network with like minds. This is my first time visiting the place my husband works and it's a good experience.
‘‘I am excited about the prospects of being able to access financial support to grow my business and I want to get higher just like the Yudala Heights," she said.