Unilever Enhancing Livelihoods - Project Shakti
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Unilever Enhancing Livelihoods- Project Shakti

Unilever Enhancing Livelihoods – Project Shakti

Isn’t it beautiful to see multibillion organizations taking part in humanitarian projects and trying their best to bring a positive impact one way or another? Unilever’s project to help better the livelihoods of women and men across India has changed the lives of many (5).

This project aims to allow the women of India to become entrepreneurs and train them to have the mindset needed to become financially liberated. The name given to these businesswomen is Shakti Ammas, who are women who are trained to understand the business world, sharpen their communication and negotiation skills, learn the basic distribution management ways, and become familiar with the company’s products. This project generates job opportunities for women while introducing and increasing the distribution of their products to rural areas (3).

This project is considered as one that uses social goals to simultaneously reach business goals as well. Many might criticize by saying that a company should not get credit as they are also profiting from this approach and how it is not only for the benefit of society. However, this is called smart business, when you can find a solution to two things that both profit the company in one way or another, this is the perfect example of corporate and personal sustainability. Unilever saw the gap, decided to build a bridge that would not only help one party but flourish both. With this project, Unilever can now reach out to villages they did not have a hold of and expand their reach, sales, and profits, all while helping women become entrepreneurs. By 2015, Unilever had trained around 70,000 women with skills such as basic accounting, sales, IT-related skills, and health and hygiene (6).

However, many studies show that some points did not sit well with many people. For example, HUL asks for an initial investment of RS. 15,000 to RS.20.000 which is quite a lot for the poorest of the poor in India. Those who come up with this initial investment are either capable of easily earning this money or have the capability to take loans. This does not cater to the poorest of the poor population of India who is in dire need of some sort of financial aid to survive daily life (4).

Moreover, when it comes to dividends, many people do not understand how the payouts work and whether they are fair to every party. To understand the whole dividend situation, you need to know that the company’s dividend is mainly in two currencies; US dollars and Euros. Therefore, the currency conversion aspect plays part in the unreliable dividend payout. However, Unilever is catering to this problem by returning cash to investors and keeping a constant increase in dividends (5). Therefore, this project has helped thousands of women become independent, respected, empowered, and given the rights and opportunities they deserve (2), alongside keeping all investors satisfied. Due to this project bringing about such a positive impact in India, the same model is starting to be used in other countries that need to increase women’s opportunities and give financial aid to the poor (7). Markets in places such as South-East Asia, Africa, and Latin America, are all starting to use the project Shakti model to try to reduce poverty.

It truly is amazing how organizations can bring such a positive impact by working together with the public and making the world a better place one step at a time.

References

  1. Carnette, J. C. (2016, August 30). Here’s what investors need to know about unilever’s dividend. The Motley Fool. https://www.fool.com/investing/2016/08/30/heres-what-investors-need-to-know-about-unilevers.aspx
  2. CSRBOX. (2019). Hindustan unilever is empowering women of rural india through its project shakti – CSRBOX. Csrbox.Org. https://csrbox.org/India_CSR_news_Hindustan-Unilever-is-empowering-women-of-Rural-India-through-its-Project-Shakti-_438
  3. Hindustan Unilever Limited. (2021). Project shakti. Hindustan Unilever Limited Website. https://www.hul.co.in/planet-and-society/Copy_of_case-studies/enhancing-livelihoods-through-project-shakti.html
  4. Poonamallee, L. (2021). Corporate citizenship: Panacea or problem? digitalcommons.mtu.edu. https://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1389&context=business-fp
  5. Shashidhar, A. (2013, June 19). Project shakti has helped thousands of women – and also men. Www.Businesstoday.In. https://www.businesstoday.in/magazine/special/project-shakti-helped-thousands-of-women-and-also-men/story/195911.html
  6. Unilever Case Study. (2018, May 6). Enhancing the livelihoods of women in unilever’s agricultural supply chain. Business Fights Poverty. https://businessfightspoverty.org/enhancing-the-livelihoods-of-women-in-unilevers-agricultural-supply-chain/
  7. Unilever Philippines. (2021). Enhancing livelihoods through partnerships across the value chain. https://www.unilever.com.ph/sustainable-living/global-partnerships/enhancing-livelihoods-through-partnerships-across-the-value-chain/