International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Women micro-entrepreneurs training programme launches in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa

“Words are not enough to express our gratitude for the training received and the impact it will have on sustaining our businesses” … echoed the women who have benefited from the Acceleration of Women Owned Micro-Enterprises (AWOME) programme being implemented in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

Date: Saturday, December 22, 2018

Namibian Women Entrepreneurs graduate from the AWOME Training. Photo: UN Women/Agnes Phiri

Namibian Women Entrepreneurs graduate from the AWOME Training. Photo: UN Women/Agnes Phiri

UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office and De Beers Group, the world’s leading diamond company, are engaged in a global partnership to support the growth of women-owned micro-enterprises in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. The three-year partnership (2017-2020) at a total cost of $750,000, aims to train 1,500 women owned micro-enterprises across the three countries. The Acceleration of Women Owned Micro-Enterprises (AWOME) programme focuses on providing women owned micro-enterprises with knowledge and skills in the areas of marketing, record keeping, stock management, costing and business planning. 

AWOME is being implemented in Namibia (Khomas and Erongo regions) in partnership with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare; in South Africa (Limpopo province) in partnership with the Blouberg and Musina Local Municipalities; and in Botswana (Okavango Delta, Kweneng and Southern regions) in partnership with the Ministry of Gender Affairs.

The key objective of the programme is to equip women micro-enterprises with business management and life skills to build their confidence and capacity to operate and grow successful micro-enterprises. The programme provides training to enhance understanding of business concepts including accessing markets, increasing market share, generating income, creating jobs, and supporting effective decision-making, communication and negotiation skills.

In 2018 several activities took place - AWOME was officially launched in Namibia on 6 September and in South Africa on 9 November; development of customised training manuals in collaboration with ILO; Training and certification of Trainers of Trainers; and identification of women-owned enterprises that will benefit from this training, and baseline studies undertaken to better understand the needs of women-owned micro-enterprises and impact of Women Business Associations.

Trainer providing instructions on Business Management. Photo Credit UN Women/Agnes Phiri

Trainer providing instructions on Business Management. Photo Credit UN Women/Agnes Phiri

As a UN Women HeForShe Thematic Champion (www.heforshe.org), De Beers Group has also committed to achieving parity in the appointment of women and men into senior leadership roles in its own organization, as well as ensuring the company’s brands are a positive force for gender equality through all its marketing campaigns. Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “We are proud of the progress we’ve made over the past year and have been extremely encouraged by the shared enthusiasm for our goals across De Beers Group and the wider diamond industry. We are still early on our journey and are determined to stand with women and girls in the pursuit of true gender equality.”

Ms Anne Githuku-Shongwe, UN Women Representative, South Africa Multi-country Office, said: “This programme is responding to the promise of the 2030 Agenda which states that no one should be left behind. The partnership with De Beers Group aims to complement national efforts on job creation and economic empowerment of women by supporting women micro-enterprises through capacity building that is customized to address their daily challenges in practical ways.”