Afrilosophy , A Social Impact Training And Manufacturing Company empowering women In Sierra Leone: Meet Isatu Kabia, The CEO and Founder
Isatu Kabia is the Founder and Director of Voice of Women-SL (VoW-SL), an organization working to increase women’s political participation and leadership, encourage women to vote and support a record number of women running for office in Sierra Leone. VoW-SL aims to increase political participation and leadership by building an intergenerational community with an inclusive national membership of women to mobilize and build lasting infrastructure for sustained action.
Isatu Kabia served as a government Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (2018) and as the Minister of State II at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. After resigning her position as special advisor on Diaspora Affairs in the Office of the President in 2012, she ran for office and was elected as the first female Member of Parliament from the Port Loko district in Northern Sierra Leone. She also served as a member of the Pan African Parliament.
In addition, Isatu Kabia is the CEO of AFRiLOSOPHY, a social impact training and manufacturing company focused on creating jobs through the manufacturing of cosmetics, hair and body products, and assisting women and youth in starting and managing their own enterprises through skills and financial management training provided by the AFRiLOSOPHY Foundation. The AFRiLOSPHY Foundation currently works within Port Loko district on a Rural Education Program (REP) building schools within the community
AFRiLOSOPHY Social Impact Training and Manufacturing Centre has implemented projects contributing to the promotion of equal rights and opportunities for women and girls with and without disabilities.
In 2015, they commenced skills training program for women, providing opportunities to Ebola survivors and helping them establish their own enterprises.
This eventually became a social enterprise, AFRiLOSOPHY, and a training institute that provides skills to women in small scale manufacturing and financial management training.
These initiatives culminated in the development of an incubator center in Lunsar where women are trained in financial management, cosmetics manufacturing, shoemaking, and accessories, thereby increasing access to finance and improved enterprise creation. They make quality products locally, creating jobs in the process.
This middle manpower training for enterprise is essential to a country’s ability for economic growth, and its resilience to economic shocks. These practically trained people (women in particular) go on to create jobs through their businesses and become employers as opposed to job seekers.
Isatu Kabia organization create new value chains for local farmers through their production of a range of beauty skincare items and household cleaners, using local and regional materials such as Moringa, coconut oil, Shea butter and lemongrass.
Sustainable livelihoods for women are needed to ensure their full participation in community and national development. Women are however less likely to be employed in the formal sector, as the illiteracy rate is much higher than in the general population, and therefore need to create their own income generating channel. The current gap between local needs and local availability of skills, is one which must be closed in order to enable women to create sustainable enterprises, becoming job creators.
Women in rural areas have limited access to education and skills development which excludes them from participating in productive economic activities. They are more vulnerable to poverty because of inequalities in access to opportunities and productive resources. Consequently, abject poverty, low education and under employment have restricted women to the lowest status. This has been exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic.
* 65% Share of women are in informal workforce with no formal employment contracts, pervasive underemployment, and no fixed wages
* Gender disparities institutionalized through social norms result in unequal access to education and resources for women
* Many workforce trainings are long and expensive
Their entrepreneurial skills training initiative, in a rural setting, has improved economic security by diversifying income opportunities for women. Their manufacturing department employs some of these trainees.
The production of high quality body care items and accessories creates a revenue stream which supports the community initiatives, including the training they provide to women. However, sustainability is key.
The sustainability of their free training programs depends on their revenues. For 2022 they are looking to distribute outside of Sierra Leone, specifically to the USA and the UK for a more robust revenue stream..
Source: Zee Tunkara Clarkson