Being a brand today must be more than just what one sells. In a world where hunger, poverty and socio-political problems still exist, a brand becomes a voice that stands for something. A brand that has not only revolutionized the detergent industry but also, made the cause of women empowerment their priority.
Sunlight is one of Nigeria’s foremost brands of laundry detergent. It was launched globally in the 1800s, becoming the world’s first packaged laundry soap. Since its inception and the formal launch of Sunlight in Nigeria in 2009, its purpose has been to make life easier for people, with a focus on women. The story has not changed even now as Sunlight acts as a bridge between women and their opportunities; to empower and encourage women to be the best they can be at every stage of their life. The brand has initiatives which focus on empowering women; Sunlight is a leading brand in the Unilever Shakti program, which provides products for women in rural areas to sell in their communities as small scale traders. Shakti is now in 12 states and has reached over 3000 women.
Sunlight has also set up Sunlight Water Centers around Nigeria, where women entrepreneurs run a for-profit center to provide clean water to their communities and run their small businesses alongside. This gives them the needed boost to improve their livelihoods and those of their communities by extension.
For the first time, Sunlight is stepping into the Nigerian Fashion Industry as another platform for women empowerment. In collaboration with Style House Files, a fashion business development agency that primarily focuses on the advancement of the Nigerian and African fashion industry and Lagos Fashion Week, through the Fashion Focus Fund. This year, Sunlight is empowering women who empower others.
In April 2019 – Two Nigerian fashion designers; Chechi Arinze and Titi Belo benefited from Sunlight’s initiative to support young female entrepreneurs. They both received the sum of two million Naira (NGN 2, 000, 000) each to support their businesses. They were chosen for their passion to make an impact and to empower others; both of which align with Sunlight’s mission.
“This initiative will help so many women in fashion as we, in turn, will provide training to the women that are coming after us,” Belo said.
Arinze added, “This fund will enable me to impact more women and businesses around me.”
Also, Sunlight is the official co-sponsor of Lagos Fashion Week’s 2019 edition of the Fashion Focus Fund and from August to September, Sunlight, together with Style House Files will hold Fashion Focus Talks, where industry experts are invited to educate young talents in the industry. This year, Fashion Focus Talks will hold in 4 cities in Africa – Lagos, Abuja, Dakar, and Kigali.
Sunlight is partnering with two womenswear brands, Vathiswa and Zurizola, run by Morenikeji Akinsola and Chibuzor Emordi.
Morenikeji and Chibuzor manage the Style House Files (SHF) Trains, a skills development initiative for the apparel sector, which manages Human Capital Development Center (HCDC), the garment manufacturing facility owned by Nigerian Export Promotion Council.
Morenikeji and Chibuzor train students in different areas of cloth production and this year will work with SHF trained beneficiaries to create “Sunlight Collection By Vathiswa And Zurizola” which they have designed. This collection will be sold at the Lagos Fashion Week 2019 and is a drive to present the designers and their work to a larger audience, with all proceeds from sales going directly to the designers.
Sunlight’s decision to get involved in Nigeria’s fashion industry couldn’t have come at a better time. The industry sees an influx of brilliant designers emerging annually and Sunlight’s involvement will help to take the designers to the next phase of their careers and more importantly, increase their ability to impact and empower others.
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About Unilever Ghana and Nigeria
Unilever Ghana Nigeria is where great people, terrific brands and proud traditions converge, to meet and satisfy the needs of people and families across Nigeria. We anticipate the aspirations of our consumers and customers and respond creatively and competitively with branded products and services that are good for them and good for others.
Many of Unilever Ghana Nigeria’s brands are household names and very much a part of both Ghana and Nigeria’s history. These are Lipton, Close Up, Pepsodent, Knorr, Royco, OMO, Sunlight, Lux, Lifebuoy, Vaseline and Pears.
Unilever’s commitment to the development of both economies remains resolute. Over the years, the company contributed immensely to Ghana and Nigeria’s socio-economic development in the following key areas: employment generation & skills development, enhancing local manufacture through foreign direct investment, building local capacity for regional export, ensuring full compliance with fiscal and regulatory requirements, providing support for enhanced social living and localized manufacture of brands.
We aim to continue to add value to Ghana and Nigeria not only through continued investments in local manufacturing and backward integration but also through various social projects that are aligned to the Unilever Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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