”Last spring, I participated in the anniversary of Women’s Bank. When listening to the speeches and presentations, I realised that the values and objectives of Women’s Bank are consistent with the values of K-rauta and the K-Group in many ways,” says Virpi Viinikainen, Chain Director of K-rauta.
”Each of the K-rauta stores in Finland are run by a local K-retailer entrepreneur. About one fourth of them are women, and so this project involving Ugandan women entrepreneurs immediately felt suitable for us. By choosing a Cello lamp, our customers can also provide some light to the homes of their fellow sisters who live further away,” Viinikainen continues.
K-rauta retailer Merja Karhu from Kouvola says that the business model of Women’s Bank appeals for women entrepreneurs.
"The projects of Women’s Bank direct help to improve women’s and their families’ quality of life in such a way that women receive education in the basic entrepreneurial skills and are granted loans that enable them to start business. I also consider it important that people in need of help are given assistance in the local environment and that their own active approach and interest in entrepreneurial activities are actually required."
Cooperation is also well in line with Kesko’s responsibility work. In the international Global 100 list, Kesko was the most responsible trading sector company in the world.
Reetta Meriläinen, Chair of the steering group of Women’s Bank, is also enthusiastic about the cooperation.
"I’m really glad about this cooperation with women retailers of the K-rauta chain. They have the same entrepreneurial attitude and the spirit of getting things done as the women we support in developing countries or those engaged in active work for Women’s Bank in Finland."
"The first steps of our cooperation have been delightfully uncomplicated. I expect this to be a long-standing partnership that will generate new ideas and provide joy to both parties," says Meriläinen.
The purpose of the four-year project in Uganda is to improve the livelihood and participation of women who are in a vulnerable position. Participants are mainly poor women, who have earned their living from agriculture and handicraft. The project aims to enhance the women’s ability to work as entrepreneurs.