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Tackling poverty and unemployment in Central and West Africa with Nestlé’s MYOWBU

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Oct 19, 2016


People in Central and West Africa are benefiting from career and financial independence through Nestlé’s ‘My Own Business’ (MYOWBU) and pushcart schemes.

The initiatives, led by the company’s out-of-home business Nestlé Professional, are helping to provide thousands of Africans with an opportunity to head their own street-vending business, and employ and manage street vendors. 

Nestlé’s efforts to implement employment schemes across the region highlight the importance of the United Nation’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year’s theme focuses on how important it is to recognise and address the humiliation and exclusion endured by many people living in poverty.

According to the United Nations, most of the world’s poorest people live in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 1 aims to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere.”

Nestlé aims to address this goal as part of its 39 pledges highlighted in the Nestlé CWAR – Nestlé in society report 2015 (English PDF) that covers nutrition, water, rural development, environmental sustainability and compliance, which it aims to fulfil by 2020 or earlier.

Financial independence

Nestlé is committed to creating jobs and encouraging entrepreneurship. It is doing this through its MYOWBU and pushcart schemes that guide people to manage their own micro-enterprise and provide training on sales, management, hygiene, safety and quality standards. 

They then recruit and employ 8-10 street vendors selling brands such as Nescafé coffee in busy public areas such as stadiums, open markets and bus stops.

Comfort Dorkutso from Ghana is one of thousands of MYOWBU employees working in the region, of whom 868 were women in 2015.

She left school to work as a home-to-home revenue collector to help support her family, but only earned USD 40 a month.

In 2013, Comfort joined the MYOWBU programme as a street vendor to sell Nescafé coffee. She leaves home early in the morning to serve the morning commuters in busy public areas in the capital of Accra.

“Thanks to MYOWBU, I’ve been able to rent an apartment and I’m looking forward to saving up in order to build my own shop,” she said.

She has now quintupled her average earnings a month and is financially independent, supporting her mother, siblings and niece.

Employment support

Alimatu Mohammed from Ghana also joined MYOWBU as a street vendor in 2012.

After her parents died, she moved from the Upper East Region of Ghana to Accra in search of employment to support herself and her two younger siblings.

She started selling water package sachets but only made USD 1.9 a day.

Today, Alimatu sells Nescafé coffee drinks in Accra and earns about USD 160 a month. 

She has been able to rent a place and is helping to fund the education of her siblings in primary and junior high schools.

“My dream is to build my own house and to manage my own business,” said Alimatu.

In 2015, more than 4,500 operators and vendors in the region took part in both the MYOWBU and pushcart schemes.

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