Benin, Nigeria; November 28, 2016: The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has applauded the world’s leading beverage company, Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd and her bottling partner, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC) for sponsoring the Lady Mechanic Initiative, as well as for its exemplary   commitment to enterprise development through Women and Youth Empowerment in Nigeria. 

He commended Coca-Cola Nigeria as the largest sponsor of the Lady Mechanic Initiative over the duration of the 5-year capacity building on auto-mechanic training.  While delivering the keynote address at the recent graduation ceremony of the third batch of 25 trainees of the Lady Mechanic Initiative in Benin. Governor Obaseki noted that Coca-Cola was playing a key role in the government’s plans to create a sustainable society in which women are empowered and can generate wealth for their communities.  

He said, “The Edo State government is working to see that institutions and individuals in the state thrive so that the State can grow and become more sustainable. The government recognizes the effort that Lady Mechanic has put into training many girls in Edo State and without support from a company like Coca-Cola; this would have been nothing short of difficult. I applaud Coca-Cola’s effort and I implore the company not to relent in its support of the initiative. Together, we all can build sustainable state and consequently, a sustainable nation”

Speaking on the basis of the company’s continued support of the Lady Mechanic initiative, The Community Affairs Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Mr Emeka Mba commented that the lady mechanic initiative is an integral part of The Coca-Cola Company’s goal to facilitate the economic empowerment of five million women by 2020 under the Platform of 5By20. 

In his words “The Coca-Cola Company has the ambitious target to empower 5 million women by the year 2020, within the 5by20 framework. There are concerns about the youth bulge and unemployment which continue to surge at an alarming rate in a VULCA environment. It remains therefore, a business imperative to support initiatives designed to mitigate the risk that this potentially poses to Business, Government and Civil society. For us at Coca-Cola Nigeria, we are committed to promote sustainable communities through support for such social enterprise development programs as LMI, designed to train, enable and connect youth to entrepreneurial opportunities in the economy”. He added that the program design and implementation of the LMI program, fulfils the fundamental sustainability considerations” 

“It is gratifying to have been part of a process that nurtured, inspired hope and rekindled the shared vision in 100 young ladies, who enrolled at various phases of the program as beneficiaries of the Coca-Cola sponsored trainees. Today, we celebrate a new horizon in the lives and vision of the last LMI entrants into the pool of entrepreneurs in Nigeria; girls who have diligently undergone 3years of rigorous and intensive auto-mechanic and life skills training, tested, certified and licensed to operate as female mechanics.

While commending the Edo State Government for the goodwill and enabling environment which facilitated the successful implementation of the program in Benin over the past 5years, Mr. Mba reaffirmed that the Golden Triangle Partnership remains the most sustainable model for providing sustainable solutions to the myriads of needs that society is faced with.  “The 3 critical pillars and development partners – Government; Business and Civil society - must commit to finding sustainable solutions to the needs of society. No one entity is repository of the capacity and resources to the need state”. 

Speaking at the event, Founder of the Lady Mechanic Initiative (LMI), Engineer Sandra Aguebor, said that she started the LMI initiative in Benin in 2010 in partnership with Coca-Cola and NBC with the objective to empower young women through auto-mechanics and wealth creation. “I started this in order to discourage and stop the social vices that many girls in Benin were engaged in.  It has not been an easy ride but with Coca-Cola’s funds capacity building for 100 girls, Lady Mechanic has been able to achieve a lot. Today, seeing my girls setting up their own workshop and recruiting others or working in different car companies fills me with so much joy and hope that we can achieve more by empowering women,” Sandra added. 

Public Affairs Manager, East and Central, NBC Ltd Mr. Ekuma Eze expressed his delight of the Coca-Cola system to support the empowerment of young women through the platform provided by the Lady Mechanic Initiative and ultimately contribute to providing solution to the prevalent unemployment rate in the country. 

Expressing her joy, one of the graduating women, Joan Iyekhekpolo said that she is grateful to the Lady Mechanic initiative because she never thought that she would achieve much as a woman who had been faced with a lot of discrimination. She said, “I was told that I could not do much because I am woman, but today I have been trained and I can confidently fix both mechanical and electrical issues in a car.”

The Lady Mechanic initiative is a not-for-profit organization incorporated under the laws of the Federal Government of Nigeria with a mandate to train young women in the skills of auto-mechanics, as a means to facilitate entrepreneurship and self-empowerment.

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About Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited

Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, an active citizen of the community and one of the most respected companies in Nigeria, is a subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company, the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands.  Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our Company's portfolio includes 20 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Vitamin Water, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks.

Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of more than 1.9 billion servings a day.  With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 System associates.