UNESCO and Nestlé partner to improve women’s livelihoods through literacy programmes

Mar 1, 2019

 

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Nestlé Côte d’Ivoire is collaborating with UNESCO on an innovative project called the MAGGI Mammies Digital Literacy Project.

According to Thomas Caso, the new Managing Director of Nestlé in Côte d’Ivoire, “this project is innovative because it contributes to women's empowerment and economic development through an approach that takes into account local realities. Our goal is to replicate this partnership in several countries of Central and West Africa and elsewhere in the world, in order to help improve the lives of other vulnerable women and their families".

In Côte d’Ivoire, Nestle works with over 20,000 MAGGI Mammies (women selling products in open markets). Over 85% of the Mammies never had the chance to attend school and only 10% of Mammies have gone through the primary level education. This implies that the majority of these women are functionally illiterate.

The MAGGI Mammies Digital Literacy Project aims at empowering MAGGI Mammies and improving their income, while raising their self-esteem and self-confidence to a higher level through basic literacy training. This Public-Private partnership has been underway since March 2017 and has reached 510 MAGGI Mammies to date. So far, 65% of the participating women can read, write and count at different level of proficiency.

The project provides Mammies with a smartphone that includes an adult literacy App called the “Alphatic”. “Alphatic” was developed by a young female Ivoirian programmer. Mammies access the application at their convenience, progress through numerous stages of literacy training and once every week, gather at a school nearby to review together as a group.

The training sessions are led by coaches who have been trained by UNESCO and the National Literacy and Non Formal Education department of the government of the Côte d’Ivoire. Each woman’s progress of is tracked on a dedicated platform to offer better monitoring and support.

The Maggi Mammies who have participated in the literacy project shared their challenges hopes, motivation and how the project has improved their lives with Mrs. Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO.

Mrs. Azoulay was accompanied by Dr. Sylvestre EMMOU, the new Mayor of Port Bouet and the new Head of the UNESCO Office in Côte d'Ivoire, Ms. Anne LEMAISTRE. The delegation went to the market to thank the MAGGI Mammies for their work, dedication and their confidence in this trail-blazing project

This Public-Private project exemplifies Nestlé’s approach to Creating Shared Value for the company and for society as well as its purpose: improving the quality of life and contributing to a healthier future . It also contributes to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals #4 (Literacy) and # 5 (gender balance and girls empowerment).