Last week Ariel unveiled renowned Kenyan gospel musician Mercy Masika as their brand ambassador at an event at Sankara. I was delighted to be at the event and to meet the star face to face.

One interesting program I learnt about at the unveiling event is the Ariel Women Group, whereby Ariel empowers women especially in informal areas to improve their finances through their chamas. Chamas are a well known avenue through which women have been able to do things way bigger than they would if they tried things on their own. They have enabled women to raise capital, start businesses and live off of the profits. These women are then able to improve the lives of their families, and still keep some money to re-invest in their businesses.

Mercy Masika is just the fit for brand ambassadorship because she’s down to earth and many people identify with her.  She’s also a passionate and hardworking, something that other women will want to emulate. Her role in the program will be to work hand in hand with women groups to promote Ariel as the detergent that saves them money, as well as empowers them economically.

Take Catherine Wanjiru from Mlolongo an example among many others. Before they formed a women’s group, they used to just idle around on their verandas after finishing their household chores. Then they saw the Ariel team in the neighbourhood and got curious to listen to them. The team explained to them that they could empower themselves if they formed a group, and compete with other groups in that area. Competition simply involved retaining their empty Ariel packs and the group that managed to gather the most packs got to win cash rewards.

Catherine Wanjiru’s group won an initial Ksh.20,000/- which they invested in a bottle crashing business whereby they collect waste bottles from their neighbourhoods, crash them and sell them to a company in Mombasa that recycles them. Just like that the women had a business and from just a capital of 20k, their first cheque from the business was Ksh.100,000/-. There are many several other groups whose stories we’ll be looking at in later articles.

Talk of empowerment! From something as mundane and as necessary as buying laundry detergent, these women are now have a viable business and are earning an active living.

The Ariel team does not stop at economic empowerment. It also teaches the women on hygiene, financial literacy and how to come together for common good and development.

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