“This is one of the main reasons why we decided to partner with the YWCA to embark on a capacity building project that trained women in two of the hardest Ebola hit counties - Bomi and Grand Cape Mount,” says Atty. Saye Gbalazeh, Managing Director of Activa International Insurance Company (Liberia) Limited (AIIC).
In fulfillment of its Corporate Social Responsibility program, Activa, in collaboration the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), embarked on a capacity building project named and styled Women in Sustainable Enterprise (WISE) nine months ago to train 59 rural women in Western Liberia.
“The choice of Madina and Tubmanburg for the pilot project was informed by statistics provided by LISGIS, showing that Ebola left over 800 widows and orphans in the two counties,” Gbalazeh said when he delivered the keynote address at programs marking the end of the pilot project over the weekend in Western Liberia.
Speaking on the theme “Why Sustainable Enterprise is important to Women’s Development”, Gbalazeh said the project is meant to increase the entrepreneurial skills of beneficiaries; address the mental health needs of Ebola-affected women; increase the life chances of children affected directly or indirectly by Ebola by harnessing of their mothers’ potential of earning income; and as well increase the self-esteem and confidence of Ebola affected beneficiaries.
Estimated at $20,000, the WISE project propels the Activa Group as the lead insurance organization to establish a “cooperative model” which empowers rural women to escape the drudgery of poverty.
The idea of investing in capacity building, says Gbalazeh, was conceived by well-meaning corporate citizens comprising businessmen and women who are usually focused on bottom-line profit making. “They were selfless enough to take the decision of spending some of their resources on a philanthropic program,” he said.
The AIIC is one of Liberia’s leading insurers, boasting of high profile list of clientele ranging from government, private sector and civil society. The company operates in more than 35 countries worldwide.
The Activa Group is represented in Liberia by CEO Gbalazeh, a graduate of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University, and the St. John’s University in Ney York, USA with an MBA.