Empowering girls for a better future: Beiersdorf’s commitment

Under the motto “We Care Beyond Skin by Empowering Girls”, Beiersdorf is working with the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Plan International and CARE to support young women and girls in Africa and Latin America – and to empower them in the long term. This help is particularly urgently needed during the coronavirus pandemic.  

In March 2020, Beiersdorf launched the global €50 million “Care Beyond Skin” aid program. Under this program, the company is working with the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Plan International (since October 2020) and CARE (since January 2021) to support young women and girls.  

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is having a particularly serious impact on girls and young women and threatens to set back the progress already made in equality and women’s rights by decades. Beiersdorf is therefore providing on-the-ground assistance, together with its partner NGOs, in particularly hard-hit regions, with ten projects in nine countries in Africa and Latin America. The commitment, which began in 2020, will be expanded to reach more than 300,000 people by 2023.

Through our global partnerships with Plan International and CARE, we are stepping up our social engagement and setting a long-term focus on girls’ empowerment. Deriving from our global ‘Care Beyond Skin’ aid program, we now ‘Care Beyond Skin by Empowering Girls’.

Stefan de Loecker, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AT BEIERSDORF

Why do young women and girls need special support in the pandemic?

In recent decades, educational opportunities and the general situation for young women and girls have improved in many places. But the pandemic is about to undo these successes and thus become a major setback for female empowerment. Because in crisis situations, inequalities and threatening conditions that already exist are only exacerbated.

It is primarily girls and young women who are affected by school closures, poor hygiene standards and limited access to health care. They spend more time at home, may have to do more unpaid domestic and care work, and thus have more difficult access to education. The spread of coronavirus not only prevents millions of girls and young women from attending school, it also puts them at higher risk of domestic violence and abuse.

Beiersdorf and Plan International to promote education and protection

Beiersdorf and Plan International are working together to support and protect girls and young women so that they have a chance to lead equal and self-determined lives. The focus is on six countries in South America and Africa: Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil, as well as Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. Together, Plan International and Beiersdorf will foster inclusive quality education and promote protective environments for girls and young women.

The spread of the coronavirus currently prevents millions of girls from attending school. This not only deprives girls of their right to education, but also puts them at higher risk of early marriage, domestic violence and abuse.

Plan International and Beiersdorf therefore provide girls and young women with quality educational opportunities, for example through language courses and mentoring programs, and a protective environment. To this end, the partners are offering workshops on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and psychological support for victims of violence. Plan International will be organizing campaigns and meetings with parents to raise awareness that good education and protection is crucial for girls and young women to live a self-determined life.

Beiersdorf and CARE to support health services and economic resilience

CARE and Beiersdorf are working together to help girls, women and their communities who are particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact. The project will run for two years from 1st of January 2021 in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan. These countries are exposed to increased risks in dealing with COVID-19 due to their economic and social situation.

Together, CARE and Beiersdorf are working to improve the access to information about COVID-19 and to appropriate health care, especially to girls and young women. The partners are supporting health facilities with protective equipment and ensuring that more health workers are trained. In addition, women are empowered to deal with the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. By participating in Village Saving and Loan Associations, they learn new tools and ways to help themselves. The knowledge they acquire and new sources of income enable them to support (and feed) themselves and their families during the pandemic and beyond. 

Beiersdorf’s commitment to empowering girls and young women is part of the sustainability agenda “Care Beyond Skin” in the focus area “For an Inclusive Society”. This central part of Beiersdorf’s aid program contributes to six of the UN’s 17 sustainability goals.