[Interview] Mokwe Welisane Nkeng, Founder and CEO, Welisane foundation, Cameroon
Mokwe Welisane Nkeng is a camerronian Gender Advocate, who founded Welisane Foundation, a non-profit and social entrepreneurship hub which seeks to address issues that affect and block the girl child and women from advancing in the society, after being inspired by her mother.
Tell us a bit about your enterprise?
Welisane Foundation is a non-profit and social entrepreneurship hub which seeks to address issues that effect and block the girl child and women from advancing in the society and to reach her utmost capacity and ability through:
Formal & Informal Education
Capacity Building Workshops
Networking and Mentorship
Advocacy and support for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Socio-economic Empowerment of Women
When and why did you set Welisane Foundation?
Welisane Foundation was set up in May 2018 because as an African and Cameroon girl, I have suffered from the scourge of Gender Equality and Discrimination. Also the impediments and problems of the girl child and woman with our communities abound. Therefore the question is how can I remove the impediments from the way of one girl/woman so that she can be more productive in her community and reach her utmost potential.
"My mother has been my role model and mentor. When she passed away, so I decided it was time to continue her legacy", said Welisane, the founder and CEO of Welisane Foundation.
What would you say gives your Enterprise the competitive edge?
We are all about making change in the society and impacting lives that makes us different from others. Our Reusable Pads is solving the problem of period poverty in our rural communities and in distress zones .
How has the market responded to your services? Why do you think that is so?
The response has been favourable because menstruation and menstrual hygiene is a real challenge to the community, so we have individuals, associations and organisations purchasing the pads and donating to girls and women as a way of giving back to the community, as part of their organisational goals and as a means of partnership for greater impact.
Welisane, what do you think makes your enterprise unique from enterprises which offer similar services if there are?
Welisane foundation is Unique because we use 100 percent cotton in the production of our pads, we incorporate a peer-to-peer education approach in our programs and we follow up our beneficiaries to evaluate their performance after our programs and products.
Thinking of the growth of Welisane Foundation, what do you think it need to grow and prosper?
We need technology to improve on the anti-microbial quality of these pads so as to prevent complications that may arise from poor hygiene. We need partners in the menstrual hygiene domain to work together for greater impact. We need more equipment such as sewing machines, pressing iron and other useful tools for sewing. We need funds to be able to increase production of these pads and to be able to buy more raw materials like cotton material.
What can you say about the changes and developments your company has undergone since its inception?
We have moved from hand made to machine made pads, we have increased annually the number of girls and women we have reached out with all our initiates.
What is the greatest threat to your enterprise and industry?
Our greatest threat is sustainability and technological evolution. We are finding ways of making production sustainable to the beneficiaries and to the community. Also with the constant evolution of technology we are having a hard time keeping with world competitivity and evolution.
Do you mind sharing your Enterprise’s plans for 2021?
We plan to reach out to 5000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria with reusable pads and to send 1000 girls back to school come September 2021 through our one girl one dream back to school initiative.
Is there any latest news from Welisane Foundation?
We just came back from Nigeria at the Adagom Refugee camp where we donated 1000 reusable pads to Cameroonian refugees on World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
We are presently Carrying out a sensitisation campaign against teenage pregnancy themed Vacances Sans Grossesses and also carrying out mentorship programme on career choices for incoming university students for 2021.