Women Forward (2021-2022)
Building a better tomorrow, together
Absa Mauritius remains committed to playing an active role in the communities within which it operates and seeks ways to improve people’s lives while creating value for its shareholders. We will continue to develop solutions to societal challenges through innovative products, services and partnerships, with a primary focus on entrepreneurship and enabling employment for the next generation.
The small and medium business sector, especially women entrepreneurs, was severely impacted by the pandemic. We joined forces with the Future Females Foundation to launch Women Forward, a programme aimed at providing those women entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to reinvent and grow their businesses.
Elected women benefited from a free training and development programme, deemed to help them get back on their feet, reach new markets and gain access to the support, funding and resources they need.
The training and development programme comprised of:
- A free 6-month comprehensive training
- One-to-one coaching sessions that go beyond simple business concepts, focusing on actual needs and challenges
- A peer-to-peer learning environment, supporting women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses
- Regular workshops whose aim was to help women entrepreneurs to grow their business
- Financial support to access the funding they need to grow and scale
- Opportunity to meet and connect with leading innovators
- Being part of the Future Females Foundation community of female founders, investors and funders
Elev8 - turning your creativity into a commercially viable project
Elev8 is a strategy to create shared growth, by helping small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs shape their business ideas into success stories. We offered innovative financial solutions and business development support services to small and medium businesses, to nurture the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and help small and medium-sized businesses succeed and grow.
Absa Academy - developing entrepreneurs and leaders of the future
The Absa Academy is fully aligned with the Mauritian Government’s policy to support the growth of SMEs. In 2015, the Academy partnered with the Women in Networking and Association des Femmes Chefs d'Entreprises Mauriciennes, to provide key business skills to 50 female entrepreneurs in Mauritius.
Absa Mauritius’ aim was to offer educational opportunities to female entrepreneurs in Mauritius and ensure that they are provided with the necessary skills to succeed. Two half-day practical workshops were delivered by our colleagues..
Learn more about our commitment to Covid 19 support
Distribution of sanitary kits to NGOs
NGOs often face financial crisis and experience several difficulties during their daily operations. The second wave of Covid-19, which led to a resurgence of the number of positive cases, accentuated the importance of protecting oneself. In the wake of the alarming situation, Absa Mauritius collaborated with the NGO Mouvement Pour L’Autosuffisance Alimentaire, to distribute sanitary kits to 1,716 beneficiaries of 22 NGOs operating in the field of education to ensure the safety of the children as well as that of staff members. Thermometers, antiseptic soaps and face shields were donated to an NGO which helps children with hearing impairment. The aim behind this initiative was to ensure that our NGOs had the suitable equipment to face the second wave of Covid-19 and ensure continuity in children’s education.
Layering chicken project and organic backyard gardening project to support some 100 families
As a result of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, floods and the Wakashio oil spill in the south east regions of Mauritius, many families found themselves in a difficult situation, lacking finances and facing job losses. To foster resilience amongst these families and help them be more independent, we funded the layering chicken project through Mouvement Pour L’Autosuffisance Alimentaire, where beneficiary families were provided with metal cages, vaccinated laying hens, feeds and vitamins. Over the long-term, this project is meant to help selected families benefit from a source of income through the nurturing and selling of eggs. These families are expected to further expand their businesses and sell eggs on a larger scale basis.
The second wave of Covid-19 also led to an increase in the prices of several basic commodities contributing to the erosion of the purchasing power of numerous families, all the more so since many family members had lost their jobs. Through the organic backyard gardening project these families built their own organic garden, providing them with a source of revenue through the sale of vegetables. From a cost perspective, these families will no longer have to purchase certain vegetables, which in turn ought to spare them from spending while consuming and adopting a healthier food production method. Via this project, we provided these families with gardening trays, compost bags and other equipment, to help them implement the project and achieve autonomy.
Bright Minds’ aim was to provide high potential students from less fortunate social and financial backgrounds with an opportunity for a brighter future by helping them pursue their tertiary studies. One of our goals being improved access to quality education, we provide skills development to support employability and self-employability, and facilitate access to quality education to deepen knowledge and build skills for the next generation.
Absa Mauritius financed the tertiary education of 40 students from 2016 to 2018, and some Bright Minds benefited from a monthly stipend to ease their spending, as well as a laptop and internet connection to facilitate their journey. An internship programme within the bank was offered to the Bright Minds to introduce them to the workplace and enhance their soft skills. A mentorship initiative was put in place by Absa colleagues to guide the interns through their educational pathway and personal life.
In 2020, a tailor-made leadership programme was implemented to prepare our Bright Minds to enter the job market. The programme focused on topics like communication skills, time management and assertiveness, amongst others. One-to-one mentoring sessions were also conducted to better understand the needs of our Bright Minds. By the end of 2020, most Bright Minds had secured a job. A certificate award ceremony was held in October 2021 to honour them, thereby strengthening our commitment to uplift our communities, together for a meaningful tomorrow.
Bright Minds testimonials
Our Bright Minds, Namrata, Deerish and Priyanka tell us more about the leadership programme
Bright Minds awards ceremony
Colours of life recognised the work of NGOs
This national competition, launched by Absa Mauritius in 2013, aimed at acknowledging the selfless work and immense contribution of NGOs in Mauritius and Rodrigues, while also providing continuous support to vulnerable groups.
Absa Colours of Life Awards
In 2020, the below 12 projects were implemented with the support of Absa:
- Aquaponics at Southern Handicapped Association
The Southern Handicapped Association was the first NGO to have implemented the aquaponics project, in the perspective of helping 100 men and women achieve financial independence and promoting a healthy method of production.
- Assocaition Kinouété
Employability projects were put in place to help 50 detainees to set up their micro businesses. Training programmes in a variety of fields such as cooking, baking, catering and mechanics, among others, were offered to inmates.
- Fraternité Mauricienne des Malades et Handicapés (FMMH)
Counselling and prevocational activities were provided to 54 children suffering from physical disability in order to improve their autonomy. In addition, the fund also enabled the supply of tailor-made modifiable wheelchairs to a total of 10 beneficiaries.
- Kolektif Rivier Nwar
The NGO implemented the ‘Musik dn la Po’ project to help 93 adolescents discover their singing talents and demonstrate their skills. The aim was to protect these teenagers from social scourges through music.
- La Courte Echelles du Nord
A sensory room was built to provide more advanced therapeutic assistance to 24 children with special needs. The room was decorated with paintings, enhanced lighting and other accessories to create an appealing and cosy atmosphere, hence having a positive impact on the children and notably calming hyperactive and autistic beneficiaries.
- Mouvement d’Aide à la Maternité
‘Maman Soleil’, a project implemented to support some 20 mothers during and post their pregnancy. Training sessions were carried out to guide young mothers in the upbringing of their children. They also learned how to juggle between their professional and personal lives.
- Fédération des Maisons Familiales Rurales
A socio-professional training was initiated, where 184 youngsters learned about automotive mechanics, hairstyling, organic agriculture, cooking and catering. As a result, several youngsters were able to find employment in different sectors.
- SOS Femmes
Flyers were distributed to the community to raise awareness on domestic violence on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Further, several awareness sessions were held to support the fight against violence towards women.
- T1 Diams
Several therapeutic sessions on nutrition targeting some 600 beneficiaries were conducted along with providing access to specialist healthcare and medical support to 279 Type 1 diabetes. Sensitisation campaigns were held to raise awareness on Type 1 diabetes.
- Association de Parents d’Enfants Inadaptés de L’Ile Maurice (APEIM)
Vocational and rehabilitation services were provided to 110 men and women as well as 200 parents suffering from moderate to severe intellectual disability. Funding has also been used to put in place a new laundry workshop at APEIM Curepipe and a pastry workshop at Trianon.
- Society for the welfare of the deaf
Adaptable pedagogical e-learning materials were provided to 72 children suffering from hearing impairments. The NGO was also able to consolidate the Mauritian Sign Language Development for pre-primary, primary and vocational/secondary schools.
- Centre solidarité pour une nouvelle vie
An educational programme called ‘Project Homme’ was put in place by the NGO to support 80 beneficiaries by helping them understand their human rights and take their life into their own hands.
- Aquaponics at Southern Handicapped Association
A mentorship model was launched in 2019 under the Colors of Life awards to enable the transmission of experience from our former participants to other NGOs. Finalists and winners from previous editions were selected to partner with us and act as mentors for other NGOs. Three-day training sessions were delivered by Marcia Small, Consultant and Expert from the Gathering 4.0.
This unique mentorship model was multifaceted; it helped impart knowledge and skills, foster collaboration between NGOs and support their professionalisation. On 15 November 2019, the 8 mentors and 7 finalists NGOs were awarded a total of Rs 5 million for the advancement of their community projects.
This project is in line with our vision to continue to bring possibilities to life by supporting the community and our country.