If you empower a woman, you empower a nation

In a nutshell

Building sustainable catering businesses to feed families and communities.

What’s the issue?

More than half of black households in South Africa are headed by women. Employment opportunities are often limited, and women have an average of seven dependents who rely on them for support, food, clothing and education. Also, where women are employed, they typically make only a third of what men earn.

What’s the story?

One skill that many South African women possess, passed down through the generations, is cooking. By providing structured business and culinary skills training, Unilever brand Knorrox is empowering these women to turn this skill into a business to break the cycle of poverty.

Launched in 2014, Knorrox has run training workshops which have successfully transformed hundreds of women into Kitchen Queens. Each of these now runs their own, small-scale catering businesses. By harnessing their culinary talents and developing the business skills required to run their own catering businesses, the Kitchen Queens programme actively transforms lives and empowers women to succeed in business.

What are the outcomes and impact?

650 women have so far become Kitchen Queens, acquiring the knowledge and expertise to run small but sustainable catering and cooking businesses. This not only allows these women to provide for themselves and their dependents. On average, each Kitchen Queen now employs a further five women, all of whom now have sustainable incomes for themselves and their dependents. That means more than 30,000 South Africans directly and indirectly impacted by new, sustainable jobs.

What are the future plans?

As part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan committed to empowering five million women by 2020, the Knorrox programme aims to have trained and set up 5,000 Kitchen Queens in business by then. By harnessing cooking skills to positive impacting women’s families and communities, nearly a quarter of a million South Africans will have benefited from the programme.

In Summary

Kitchen Queen Busisiwe Biyela says: “Being selected for the programme has changed my life in a big way. I have given this everything, 110%. Now my business is doing so well; the orders are coming in.”

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