The Coca-Cola Company, the UK Department for International Development, Mercy Corps and local partners launched a multifaceted program to educate and economically empower marginalized Nigerian girls in Kano, Kaduna, Abuja and Lagos.

The Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE) program offered training, mentoring and support to vulnerable girls between the ages of 16 and 19 who were out of school, at risk of dropping out, or facing an early marriage. ENGINE is part of 5by20, Coca-Cola’s initiative to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s global value chain by 2020.

A new report from the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security – which reviewed independent evaluations of both participating girls and nonparticipants – concluded that the results were encouraging on several fronts.

More than 10,000 out-of-school participants (out of 13,024) secured employment as through program, with more than half joining the Coca-Cola value chain. Participants were more likely to run their own business, manage one or hold a savings account. They also gained self-confidence and knowledge of skills required to run a small business, compared to non-participants.

“The results highlight the potential to empower girls, even in very challenging circumstances, with the support of partners that deliberately address overlapping constraints,” said Dr. Jeni Klugman, managing director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. “We also welcome the focus on rigorous evaluation of the program, to better understand what works, as well as persistent constraints.”

Ambassador Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, added, “Women and girls are a central pillar in global development. Many companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, have been playing leadership roles to improve the status of women, to accelerate economic opportunities, and to enhance sustainable development.”

The ENGINE program ran from 2014-2016 and involved multiple partners: The Coca-Cola Company, Nigerian Bottling Company, Mastercard Foundation, Nike Foundation, and the UK Department for International Development’s Girls’ Education Challenge. The global organization Mercy Corps led the implementation of ENGINE, with support from Girl Effect Nigeria, d.light solar social enterprise, Action Health Incorporated, Community Action for Popular Participation, and Society for Women and Development and the Empowerment of Nigeria. Reports and data were collected by Preston Health Care Consulting Ltd.