By Gladys Abugoh
Country Women Association of Nigeria (COWAN) said it’s been empowering rural women in 32 states of the country through its micro credit facility by granting revolving loans as low as N20,000,00.
Speaking at a workshop organized by the Lagos State chapter of the Association titled ‘The Role of Rural Women In Nigeria’s Agriculture After Golden Jubilee’ in Lagos, the National President of the Association, Chief Mrs Bisinuola Ogunleye, said that using the ‘ten trusting ten formula’, recipients of these loans have engaged in food production, processing and distribution with no defection in loan repayment.
The COWAN President added that ‘Nigeria can overcome poverty by helping rural women to package local herbs that are of better nutrition and medical value than foreign herbs.
She further explained that if for example ‘the government can help the women to see bitter leaf as a source of money, so as to dry it and turn it to powder the way COWAN has shown, and use it for bitter drinks, within two weeks a woman that has an acre of land for the production of bitter leaf would harvest fifty thousand naira worth of stock weekly.
Comparing the COWAN micro credit scheme with the failed micro finance banks, Bisinuola Ogunleye lamented that ‘the way the micro finance policy is spelt out there is no difference between the micro finance banks and commercial banks, so micro finance banks started to operate like commercial banks. They started asking for deposits like commercial banks which cannot work, micro finance banks are banks for the people by the people and for the people.
The workshop which culminated in the inauguration of an interim working committee charged with the responsibility of repositioning the association in Lagos State, called on Nigerian women to reach out for political office positions in order to better the lot of the Nigerian women .