Rural African women trained by Dubai firm secure jobs

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on April 2, 2021

Initiative aims to generate jobs and income, reduce hunger and poverty, and improve the sustainability of livelihoods across Africa’s most disadvantaged communities

Twenty-five women from rural areas of Rwanda have been mentored by a Dubai-based social enterprise to secure opportunities in hospitality sector. Teaming up with hospitality group Accor, Evolvin’ Women is not only equipping women with skills and knowledge but also ensuring they support their families back home.

Currently, these women have secured placements across 21 hotel properties in the UAE, said Assia Riccio, founder of Evolvin’ Women. “The overarching goal of this hospitality-led female advancement initiative is to generate jobs and income, reduce hunger and poverty and improve the sustainability of livelihoods across Africa’s most disadvantaged communities where unemployment rates amongst women are particularly high,” she said.

“The women have received two-year placements, which started in March. The two-year programme starts with online training in Rwanda, after which participants are relocated to their designated hotel in the UAE, with full transition assistance provided by Accor. They will be provided training, work experience and one-to-one mentoring with Accor hotel colleagues and management. At the end of such placement, Evolvin’ Women offers them the opportunity to share their skills and knowledge with their communities through volunteer work or with organisations where they can forge careers and gradually become financially independent,” she added.

During their work placement, participants will continue with their online education and attend monthly face-to-face career development training, receiving support from the hotel and group’s community mentors. “When the two-year training is complete, each participant will translate their knowledge and experience to their communities. This includes volunteer work where they can leverage the skills to promote sustainable business practices in rural areas,” she added.

Mark Willis, CEO, Accor India, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, said: “We aim to make a difference to the lives of talented women in Africa where unemployment is escalating and due to challenging circumstances, skill development opportunities are scarce… By offering training, experience and mentoring at select hotels across our UAE portfolio, we can help them build a better future for themselves and their communities.”

One of the trainees enrolled in the programme, Yvette Uwiringiye said the training will help her know what is the next step she should take in her career. “This programme will help me gain clarity about what I should do next in my career. Gaining skills and becoming financially independent will help me contribute not only to the economy of my country but will also help me inspire other women in my country,” said Uwiringiye, who now works at the Swissotel Al Murjoon.

Another trainee from Rwanda, Claudine Umutesi, who is working in Movenpick Downtown, said: “Apart from the opportunity to develop my professional and personal skills to build my career, the programme is aligned to my passion for community development. Many women engage in illegal activities to survive because they have no other opportunities. At the end of the programme, I would like to set up a counselling centre to help and train them in hospitality.”

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