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MultiChoice Nigeria: Sustaining Leadership With Women Empowerment

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“Women are the real architects of society.”  Harriet Beecher Stowe once said.

In line with the above quote and the importance of women in the society, today there are a number of brands around the world, championing the course of women. Amazingly, the brands demonstrate that they have a role to play in shaping social issues such as female equality and empowerment.

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Remarkably, yearly the International Women’s Day, celebrated March 8, has always re-emphasize the need for gender parity and this year’s edition with the theme “#EachforEqual” is not different.

However, despite the strides that have been made in improving gender parity, the world is still years away from achieving gender equality.

Excitingly, one of the leading organizations in Nigeria championing women empowerment is MultiChoice Nigeria, a Pay TV giant. It is worthy of note that the organization, through its commitment to women empowerment has been experiencing tremendous growth in its business.

John Ugbe, CEO, MultiChoice Nigeria

Speaking at the maiden edition of Women in Advertising Cocktail, John Ugbe, CEO, MultiChoice Nigeria said, “Some of our most important operations are headed by very brilliant, hardworking women who, I must say, give the men a run for their money.”

True enough, MultiChoice Nigeria boasts of some of the industry’s finest female professionals who occupy positions that many will not consider for female employees.

MultiChoice Women’s Forum

Recall last year at Women in Marketing and Communications Conference And Awards (WIMCA), Ugbe said, the company will continue to seek more ways to empower women, one of which was the MultiChoice Women’s Forum.

“Gender balance is really important across every level in our organizations. One way to achieve this is to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women in our organization and in our industry”

He added, “Today, the MultiChoice Women Forum launches. It’s our way of celebrating the achievements of women across MultiChoice and keeping them in the forefront always,”

Similarly, Ugbe pointed that the company has more women who has risen to the top in their career and more are still springing up.

Asides from the company’s giant stride in empowering women, it is already thinking of the future with the initiative called Take a Girl Student to Work’ where it is preparing girls for leadership roles.

‘Take A Girl Student To Work’ Initiative

“We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.”  Sheryl Sandberg popular quote reads.

Multichoice Nigeria understands the place of empowering the girl child for future challenges and positioning her for leadership opportunities in the society.

That is why for years, it had been empowering undergraduates from different higher institutions of learning by exposing them to work reality in the fields of sales, corporate communications, marketing, operations and the practical aspect of its business, under its ‘Take a Girl Student to Work’ initiative.

The objective is not only to visit but also to interact with professionals in their field of work so as to give the learner a hands-on experience in a work environment and to expose her to different career options available in the market place.  The goal of the initiative is also to deepen the thinking of the young female student with regards to her boundless roles in society, enhance her self-esteem, inspire and motivate her to reach her full potential and through exposure to diverse careers and positive role models to assist her to prepare for the task ahead.

It organised the programme in partnership with the South African High Commission and the South African Chamber of Commerce as part of activities to commemorate the World Women’s Day each year.

When it started some years ago, the then Head of Public Relations for MultiChoice, Segun Fayose, explained how it started. “It started in 2009 when South Africa celebrated women’s day and every August 9 is declared a public holiday in the country to celebrate women. South African women contributed to the struggle for their liberation. In Nigeria, they made initiative to empower the female child which is a week-long programme to get exposed to work environment. It always involves the final year students where they spend the whole day to have exposure in different units, have practical with us as well as with our contact centres,” he had remarked.

He explained that the project is an annual social corporate investment event and a constructive way of positively contributing to the global efforts to address challenges faced by young women, particularly African women and “the girl child.”

It was envisaged that young female students will get the opportunity to spend a day at work by visiting corporate offices, government departments, and many other businesses in Lagos. The objective is not only to visit but also to interact with professionals in their field of work to give the learner a hands-on experience in a work environment, and to expose her to different career options available in the market place. Specifically, the goal of the project was to “deepen the thinking of the young female student with regards to her boundless roles in the society, enhance her self-esteem, inspire and motivate her to reach her full potential and through exposure to diverse careers and positive role models to assist her to prepare for the world of work,” the Pay TV provider said.

The organisers added that part of the objectives was to fight the menace of women underdevelopment, assist in the development of a bottom-up orientated type of women empowerment, publicly highlight the benevolence and commitment of participating companies to making a difference in challenges faced by women and building dialogue between the young female students and the world of workplace through the participating companies.

At the 2015 edition of the initiative, MultiChoice further broaden the scope of the programme to further include female undergraduates from schools like Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; Bowen University, Osogbo; Yaba College of Technology, among others.

The impact of this initiative on beneficiaries is multifaceted. Vanessa Mbamala, an undergraduate who was then studying Cell Biology and Genetics at the University of Lagos described the initiative as very exposing. “I’m excited to be part of the programme. It has opened me up to know that women can attain leadership position in their field unlike when women were always sidelined and relegated to the kitchen. This programme is an eye-opener.”

Meanwhile, a student of the Department of International Law and Diplomacy, Babcock University, Miss Christwealth Jedidiah, said the experience was fun. “I have never had an idea of the workplace. Being at MultiChoice, I realised that there is more to it. I wanted to become a diplomat and after my interactions, I want to do something that I have a tangible experience in,” she enthused.

Interestingly, since the commencement of the initiative, MultiChoice Nigeria has employed some beneficiaries who are today permanent staff of the company.

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