Unilever Pakistan's ‘Guddi Baji’ initiative changing the lives of thousands of Rural Women

Pakistan is the second-worst country in the world in terms of gender equivalence. On the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index, Pakistan ranked at 148/149 position. 80% of Pakistani females never work despite nearly equal gender populations.

Unilever Pakistan started an initiative called ‘Guddi Baji’ which means ‘Good Sisters’. This initiative opens the door to women empowerment. This project reduces the gender gap prevailing in the country by giving women an equal opportunity to become a female entrepreneur.

With the exceptional support of the local and global demonstrable teams of Unilever, they developed a partnership and association with a local social welfare organization ‘the Rural Support Program Network’. Their purpose is to connect with the most helpless people in local communities. They have created an entrepreneurial movement through this platform.

This initiative gave an opportunity to women in villages to act as ambassadors and road-to-market agents for Unilever. This program is providing a means of income for women to support their families. This model includes recruitment, training and capability building via comprehensive training tools, focusing on techniques to run profitable businesses.

1,700 women across Pakistan are self-employed Unilever ambassadors and distributors, while also acting as healthcare agents. Unilever reaches women in rural communities through their partnership with rural support program networks and helps enhance their livelihoods, which is one of Unilever’s Supportable Living Goals. Today, Guddi Baji is empowering millions of women, delivering the purpose to create value for society through access to trusted brands, financial presence, and well-being support.

Real evidence of this sustainability-led project was the extraordinary funding worth $1.2m from DANIDA received for scale-up. With the partnership, and with the extra support of Jazz and Dutch RTM experts BoPlnc, Unilever developed the project so that the Guddi Baji influencers became Digi-financial inclusion agents. The purpose of this is to give an opportunity to women taking part, learn and get financial services as well.

This Program of Unilever grown over three times in three months in 1,700 new villages. Impacting the lives of over 2 million people, these female agents today earn €30/month with expected €200/month by year-end almost twice the national living wage in Pakistani Rupees.

Unilever’s aim is to recruit 7,000 Guddi Baji’s nationally and provide access to 40,000 new outlets by 2022. The network will create an impact across 5 million households.