Aim to bridge skills gap in Nigeria’s leather and non-leather manufacturing industry
The Mastercard Foundation has entered into a business partnership with My World of Bags, the parent company of FemiHandbags and one of the leading luxury accessory brands in Africa, for the launch of Kafawa. The initiative, according to the companies, is designed to bridge the skills gap in the leather and non-leather manufacturing industry.
The partnership with the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works will upskill hundreds of Nigerian youths and connect them to work opportunities in the creative sector with the goal to empower and establish a highly skilled generation of youth to enhance the quality of workmanship in Nigeria – and Africa’s leather and non-leather industries.
The initiative – Kafawa, which means ‘establishment’ in Hausa, – will kick-off its pilot edition in Oyo state, and will launch a series of intensive courses in hard and soft skills as the partnership with the Mastercard Foundation will enable it further expand its reach, intensify and broaden the training curricula and offer placement opportunities within the leather and non-leather manufacturing industry.
However, the convener has been an active advocate for skill building over the past five years through its annual training program for leather designers, in partnership with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC); and for expanding access and creating a platform for visibility, through its annual Lagos Leather Fair.
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In a statement by Femi Olayebi, programme director and founder of My World of Bags/FemiHandbags, she said, “There is a breadth of potential in the leather and non-leather manufacturing industries in Nigeria, and yet, there is a lack of skilled hands to bring that potential to life. This partnership with the Mastercard Foundation is the perfect opportunity to achieve this, by not only equipping young Nigerians with the necessary skill sets to grow and expand the sector, but also to enhance their own economic outcomes.”
“We are honored to be driving this change, and we are committed to creating access for as many young people at the bottom-of-the-pyramid as possible. We truly believe that there is dignity in working your way to the top, no matter how low you start, and we hope to begin to change mindsets and create a chain reaction,” she said.
Also speaking on the partnership was Chioma Nwagboso, Program Lead, MSME Finance at the Mastercard Foundation, who said “The Mastercard Foundation is excited at the potential for Kafawa to create a new generation of young people with a changed mindset and new-found belief that production, tailoring and manufacturing can provide dignified and fulfilling work opportunities.”
Meanwhile, the first sets of trainees who are selected based on their passion, availability, and readiness to strive for better opportunities, have officially been on-boarded into the Kafawa Training Program and are very eager to begin a journey that will involve intensive training over a period of 3-4 months.