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March 6, 2009

International Women’s day

GLOBAL – This Sunday is International Women’s day and as Nokia is involved in some interesting initiavtives, we thought it’d be a good idea, and opportunity to highlight some of those. Following the earthquake in Pakinstan in 2005, the “Recrafting Destiny” program was set up to help local women from the Siran Valley. The women, who’s lives were severely affected by the earthquake, are learning to recreate their destiny, coming together to create a range of handcrafted beadwork products including jewelry and mobile phone accessories.

For many, it has been their first job and their first opportunity to create self-reliance. Community plays a big part in the project, as it brings together women from neighboring villages encouraging, and enabling, them to work together.

Over the past few days some of the products of “Recrafting Destiny” have been on sale at the Nokia House company store in Espoo. Proceeds from the sale are being directly sent to the “Recrafting Destiny” team to help fund the project.

Elsewhere, Nokia and Grameen Foundation are working together in rural African villages. Along with local micro-finance institutions and mobile networks, they created the Village Phone initiative, to help local women create their own local enterprise. The concept is pretty straightforward in that it enables women to fund the purchase of a phone and airtime, which they can then resell for a profit in their local village. This has a double impact of enabling the women to fund and create their own business, as well as bringing mobile phone access to others in the same village who wouldn’t typically afford to buy their own phone.

Using this model, over 5,000 new business have been created in Uganda since 2003.

If you want to read about Nokia’s community involvement, check out Expanding Horizons, an online magazine which highlights various initiatives in developing countries. We’d also be interested to hear your take, and if you have any stories to tell.