De Beers: Supporting Gender Equality through Programming and Mentorships
Sunny-Girl, an ambitious woman living in Namibia, has worked for years to penetrate the male-dominated business of car and tire repairs. Through a program called AWOME (Accelerating Women Owned Micro-Enterprises), Sunny-Girl has been working with a mentor to set goals, develop action-oriented plans, and further develop her business.
AWOME, a program run in partnership between leading diamond company De Beers Group and UN Women, has supported more than 1,000 women since 2018, to build their businesses, create more jobs and generate a more secure income. The women entrepreneurs enrolled in the program range from fashion designers and diesel mechanics to florists and farmers.
“Women are the backbone of each family,” Alex Shinana, AWOME mentor, said. “When you empower women, you empower the whole nation. They develop the courage to confront challenging issues and take responsibility for the future.”
AWOME is not only supporting women entrepreneurs, but it also upscales and equips local trainers to ensure the program is sustainable in the long run and has made an impact on all those involved.
“AWOME is changing my own perceptions of women and this will help me be a better husband to my wife,” Alex Shinana said. “The friendships that we build with the women entrepreneurs are very rewarding. They are my life mentor just as I am their business mentor.”
De Beers Group is committed to working alongside the United Nations in furthering the Sustainable Development Goals, goals which give a clear view of the responsible changes that can be made along the diamond pipeline to further the industry.
AWOME is a perfect example of a program that further advances Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality.
On International Women’s Day 2021, De Beers Group announced an extension of their partnership with UN Women and a further $3million to expand the AWOME program, with the target of supporting 10,000 women entrepreneurs by 2030, as part of their ‘Building Forever’ goals. They also aim to increase the income of the women involved in their program by 25%.
De Beers Group and the AWOME program is another example of how Diamonds Do Good.