Following a resolution of the 35th Session of the Governing Council, the Grooming Endowment Trust was set up to provide funding for the Centre’s expanding range of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) related initiatives, for the benefit of the Centre’s members and society at large. Incorporated in August 2020, the Trust will provide grants and investments in the areas of of education and capacity building, health, enterprise and community development, as well as venture formation and humanitarian relief. The governance and operational mechanisms for the Trust have been set up, and activities will commence in the first quarter of 2021.
The second edition of the Grooming Centre Talent Hunt held from 21st October -21st of November, 2020 at the Grooming Centre Multipurpose Hall. The Talent Hunt was created with the purpose of discovering talents and empowering the youth within the Ejigbo community, in Lagos, Nigeria. The event started with the open auditioning of over 100 performers from the community with 15 performers successfully moving to the next stage and finally, 6 performers at the Grand finale where Precious Mac Ebiama emerged as the winner while Yusuf Balogun and Otokpeya Ochuko Felix were the 1st & 2nd runners-up respectively.
In furtherance of the Centre role in contributing to and promoting research and knowledge development in areas of social enterprise, microfinance, inclusive finance, poverty alleviation and rural development, the Grooming Centre University Grant Scheme provides research grants to undergraduate and postgraduate students in Nigeria. This year, the Centre’s Management increased the grant funding from N75,000 for undergraduates to N100,000 each, and N150,000 to N200,000 each for postgraduates and awarded 41 students, 13 undergraduates & 28 postgraduates, in a ceremony held on December 14, 2020.
The Centre’s Second Governing Council was inaugurated by the Board of Trustees on Thursday, December 17, 2020, after the tenure of the First Council elapsed. The newly inaugurated six-member Council, under the leadership of Dr. Noel Ihebuzor as the newly elected Council Chairman, was also strengthened by the addition of Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, a renowned social justice advocate and development expert. The Governing Council provides policy and advisory guidance to the Executive Management Team in the execution of the Centre’s goals and objectives.
As part of an overall value optimization strategy, the Centre and Grooming Microfinance Bank have been exploring areas of positive synergy in the Centre’s ecosystem. As such, the bank began providing banking services to 5 of the Centre’s branches in Ibadan in July 2020. Additionally, salaries for all Head Office staff were paid through the bank in August while salaries for all Oyo Programme Area staff will also be paid through the bank in September. The bank has made strides in the availability of e-channels with debit cards, internet and mobile banking for all of its customers.
The previously postponed award ceremony for the 2020 Lady Kate Okafor Scholarship Scheme was held on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. In strict compliance with social distancing guidelines, only 7 awardees alongside their mothers were in attendance to represent the 500 students awarded the scholarship. With a total of 861 beneficiaries since inception, the initiative aims to contribute to the education and development of children whose families are disadvantaged. In other educational initiatives, preparations for the 2020 Grooming Centre University Grant Scheme are ongoing. The Scheme will provide 150 undergraduate and postgraduate students with research grants.
Grooming Centre, in partnership with SESOR Empowerment Foundation, provided financial training and disbursed N2,060,000 to 57 internally displaced women in Lagos as seed money for their microenterprises. The financial literacy training and disbursements held at the Sesor Safe Day Space in Lagos on the 16th and 23rd of July, 2020. The livelihood support programme is set to kick-off in Benue State in a few weeks.
The previously postponed 10th edition of the Grooming Centre Splash held on August 29, 2020 at the Grooming Centre Multipurpose Hall, which was adequately spaced out in adherence to social distancing guidelines. The 2020 Splash rewarded clients in each of the Centre’s 24 Business Zones with star prizes of 24 commercial tricycles (commonly called Keke), 58 deep freezers, 57 double door refrigerators, 58 5KVA generators, 81 Small fridges, and 106 2.5KVA generators. Overall, 384 clients across 24 Business Zones of the Centre won different prizes in this year’s edition of the Splash.
Following the Centre’s realignment, Senior Management and Programme Managers took part in a mini retreat from August 27th – 29th, 2020, to deliberate on strategies to improve productivity, reinforce team building, refocus on core values and redefine organizational priorities for sustainable growth. Key discussions centered on delivering the Centre’s mission within the new normal posed by the pandemic, as well as opportunities for digital innovation. The retreat provided a platform to engage, inspire and brainstorm execution strategies in a relaxed environment.
The Centre’s Code of Conduct was recently amended to cover the increasing scope of activities for staff, detailing ethics, values and norms to be upheld in the areas of Client Protection, Staff Conduct and dealing with Conflicts of Interest. Accordingly, a ceremonial renewal and signing ceremony was held at the Management meeting on September 14, 2020. The amended Code of Conduct will be cascaded throughout the Centre along with the newly distributed Employee Handbook, setting a common ethical standard built on integrity, trust and dedication to govern relationships with clients, colleagues, partners, stakeholders and the general public.