Properties across Accor’s UAE portfolio offer life-changing skill development placements to unemployed African women 

Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group has joined a ground-breaking UAE-led initiative that promotes the advancement of women in Africa’s underprivileged rural communities.

The Group has partnered with Evolvin’ Women, a Dubai-based social enterprise, to offer over 25 life-changing skill development placements in 21 properties across the UAE, to women from rural areas of Rwanda. 

The two-year placements, which will be starting in March 2021, provide each participant with training, work experience and one-to-one mentoring with Accor hotel colleagues and management. At the end of such placement, Evolvin’ Women offers them the opportunity to share their skills and knowledge with their communities through volunteer work or with organisations where they can forge careers and gradually become financially independent.

The overarching goal of this hospitality-led female advancement initiative is to generate jobs and income, reduce hunger and poverty and improve the sustainability of livelihoods across Africa’s most disadvantaged communities where unemployment rates amongst women are particularly high.

“Through our partnership with Evolvin’ Women, we aim to make a meaningful difference to the lives of talented women in Africa where unemployment is escalating and due to challenging circumstances, skill development opportunities are scarce,” said Mark Willis, CEO, Accor India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey.

“By offering training, experience and mentoring at select hotels across our UAE portfolio, we can help them build a better future for themselves and their communities, which reinforces Accor’s commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace based on talent development and social responsibility.”

Evolvin’ Women selects skill placement candidates on Accor’s behalf and according to talent opportunities available at each hotel. Multiple factors and criteria are taken into consideration, but many of the women have demonstrated their passion for the hospitality industry having already studied professional hotel qualifications in their home country.

The two-year programme starts with online training in Rwanda, after which participants are relocated to their designated hotel in the UAE, with full transition assistance provided by Accor. 

During their work placement, participants continue with their online education and attend monthly face-to-face career development training, receiving support from the hotel and Group’s community mentors. Mentoring is an integral part of the Evolvin’ Women programme, which is provided by hospitality professionals in managerial roles whom provide the participants with the guidance and support needed to improve their skills and complete the programme. 

When the two-year training is complete, Evolvin’ Women and its partners in Africa help each participant translate their knowledge and experience to their communities. This includes volunteer work with Evolvin’ Communities Hubs where they can leverage the skills they have learned during their work placements to promote sustainable business practices in rural areas.

Assia Riccio, Founder, Evolvin’ Women, said: “Partnering with Accor gives our initiative a major boost, providing several unemployed women in Africa with a life-changing opportunity to work for a leading hotel group in one of the world’s most dynamic hospitality markets, the UAE. I would like to applaud Accor for its commitment to achieving diversity and inclusion in the workplace and for supporting our programme, which looks to meet several major United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the UAE’s seven Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs).” 

Accor’s collaboration with Evolvin’ Women is closely aligned to its Planet 21 CSR strategy, which sets out rigorous social responsibility targets for 2021. It also reflects the Group’s unwavering ambitions to become a diversity and inclusive leader, in line with its RiiSE initiative, which promotes gender equality through diversity across the organisation globally.