ITC Vivel takes initiative to empower women
The company starts a programme to equip young women with comprehensive training to become community leaders

Its brand philosophy has always been ‘Ab Samjhauta Nahin’. And it has always chosen the path of empowering and educating women to challenge stereotypes and help enable self-action, with the firm belief that no one should have to compromise on their dignity or be discriminated against. And now to take this brand philosophy forward, Vivel, the leading personal care brand from the ITC’s stable, has teamed up with the professional feminist organisation, Azad Foundation to launch Parvaz – A Feminist Leadership Programme to help transform communities. Kolkata headquartered ITC Ltd, through its brand Vivel, has actually set out on a mission to equip young women with comprehensive training to become community leaders and catalysts for local change, top company officials said.

Vivel actively stands in support of equality and believes that for a more equal life, awareness and education is the first step to empowerment, these officials added. Interestingly, ITC’s personal care business has all along been leveraging innovative brand campaigns under ‘Vivel Ab Samjhauta Nahin’ towards deepening consumer engagement.

“Vivel with its brand philosophy ‘Ab Samjhauta Nahin’ enables purpose and a deep rooted conviction to empower women at the grassroots. We are happy to partner with Azad Foundation in this journey to help facilitate self-action and access to information through various direct outreach efforts,” said Sameer Satpathy, chief executive, personal care products business, ITC Limited.

The year-long training called ‘Parvaz – A Feminist Leadership Programme’ combines four phases of residential training and on-ground inter-phase work with Azad outreach and mobilisation teams. The training enables an understanding of women’s rights and entitlements, enhances soft skills like communication, personality, self and behaviour, provides conceptual clarity on non-traditional livelihoods, related social issues and supports them to opt for non-traditional livelihoods. As many as 29 young women have enrolled for the programme in Delhi in 2018.  After the training, they will take a lead on various right-based projects in their communities. As a result of an outreach by these empowered women, we hope to reach 29000 women directly in Delhi with information and support with access to government social schemes, non-traditional livelihoods with dignity. The leaders are also provided with guidance to implement their own community project based on specific needs of their community, ITC officials pointed out.

The company has also made a video announcing the partnership and introducing some of the women currently enrolled in the programme. The film is a unique re-interpretation of Subhadra Kumaari Chauhan’s famous poem ‘Khoob Ladi Mardaani’ and celebrates the extraordinary lives of every Indian woman.

Meenu Vadera, trustee & executive director, Azad Foundation, on her parts, said, “Azad is a professional feminist organization working across social and religious divides to enable resource-poor women to empower themselves by engaging in viable non-traditional livelihoods. We are committed to breaking patriarchal boundaries and structures so that the women can exercise control over their lives and live with dignity. We are elated to partner with ITC Vivel to impact more resource-poor women directly and support them to opt for non-traditional livelihoods.”

Significantly, ITC rolled out the ‘Ab Samjhauta Nahi’ initiative in July 2016 with the objective of taking the brand positioning of Vivel to a more ‘socially driven objective’. Speaking against objectifying women, removing barriers and restrictions, Vivel has always tried to make a social impact with its brand communication.

Ritwik Mukherjee