Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. 47% of Nigerian women become mothers before they reach the age of 20 and the literacy rate for women is currently at 66%. The majority of women are concentrated in casual, low skilled, low paid informal sector employment. The hospitality industry in Enugu is growing rapidly with establishments increasingly requiring top quality staff.
Given the present lack of a skilled workforce, Lantana’s training vastly improves the young women’s opportunities, giving them the chance to lift themselves out of poverty. The college provides a two-year hands-on training programme in cookery and hospitality management, at the end of which the students are awarded a certificate in hospitality operations. Most of the students are from poor families whose parents are subsistence farmers, small-scale traders or low-income earners. They rely on sponsors from within their communities and abroad to fund their education.
Lantana is supported by Women’s Board, a Nigerian organisation which encourages the development of women from any background, ethnic group or religion. The main objectives of the organisation are to develop leadership qualities, provide professional skills and foster a responsible attitude towards their work.
“An education is perhaps a child’s strongest barrier against poverty, especially for girls. Educated girls are likely to marry later and have healthier children. They are more productive at home and better paid in the workplace, better able to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS and more able to participate in decision-making at all levels.”
Statement from UNICEF on the UN Millenium Development Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.