First Bank of Nigeria Limited says it will scale up its empowerment of widows to 500 before the end of the year
The bank, which provided funding to the widows to grow their micro-medium scale businesses, has empowered 125 widows as identified by the International Women Society.
Bashirat Odunewu, the Group Executive, International Banking Group, said this at the 125 widows’ endowment empowerment programme in commemoration of FirstBank 125th Anniversary in Lagos.
Odunewu said the bank’s partnership with IWS was designed to further the empowerment of women, especially widows, as part of activities marking 2019 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Week.
She stated that the CR&S week, with the theme: “Ripples of Kindness: You First,” reflects the brand promise to always put its stakeholders first and is designed to offer employees and other stakeholders opportunities to give their time and resources to defined causes.
Odunewu, who was represented at the event by the bank’s Business Development Manager, Kunle Olorunfemi, explained that as part of the bank’s employee giving and volunteering programme, the week focuses on wide range of activities under the SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness) initiative.
According to her, it includes partnership with IWS for the empowerment of widows, as well as visit and donations to orphanage/less privileged homes, Internally Displaced Persons and deepening the values of SPARK amongst school children.
She said: “A world without active collaboration amongst people, organisations, nations and regions is inconceivable.
“We are here because of our collective desire to pursue synergies that would generate progress for us and future generations.
“That is the focal piece of sustainability.
“I am, therefore, optimistic that this partnership will help drive sustainable development.
“At First Bank, the partnership amongst people and stakeholders have sustained us for over 125 years.
“As you might be aware, our impact traverses virtually every sector of the economy.
“This indeed resonates our 125th anniversary theme: ‘Woven into the Fabric of Society.’
“Such partnerships have also provided the opportunity for us to help create an enabling platform for Small and Medium Enterprises to thrive and develop the national economy.
“The partnership with International Women Society is designed to advance social and economic impact by providing capital and capacity building for women running small businesses including widows.
“We believe that a committed, well-funded and well implemented partnership with International Women Society will enhance our goals as a responsible corporate citizen, which include focusing on empowering women and nation building.
“The partnership with IWS is also in line with the bank’s financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment policy, which promotes accessible and affordable financial products and services to disadvantaged groups with the goal of bringing these marginalised populations into the mainstream economy, improving their chances for resilient livelihoods and financial stability.
“In partnering with International Women Society, by providing opportunities for widows in areas of capacity building and access to start-up capital, the Bank advances social and economic impact.”