By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
The Federal and Ogun State governments have trained 21,000 women in the state in financial skills including income management, budgeting and financial education under Nigeria for Women Project (NFWP).
The project led by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs is being implemented in Ogun, Abia, Edo, Kebbi, Niger and Taraba States in order to help improve women’s livelihood and check gender inequalities, especially in the rural areas.
The Ogun State Coordinator of the project, Mrs Bolanle Fadairo, noted that that the World Bank-assisted project is targeting 54,000 women in three designated Local Government Areas; Odeda, Yewa North and Ijebu North-East adding that as of Saturday, September 11, 2021, it has covered 21,000 women.
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Fadairo also stated that the project was designed to empower rural women, through building social capital, livelihood programmes, innovation and partnership, project monitoring, evaluation and learning.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and the Chairman, NFWP’s Technical Committee, Engr Funsho Adebiyi, during a visit to the select local governments, said that those who are benefitting from the project are grassroots women with the lowest level of income.
The three women affinity groups in the state visited by the committee in the Odeda Local Government area are ‘Eto Ọlọ́run’, ‘Ifèlodun’ and ‘Oriofe’.
Adebiyi said the visit was necessary to ascertain the level of success achieved so far by the project, adding that the project will improve women’s livelihood and facilitate their access to economic markets using a model of women’s affinity groups (WAGs).
He said: “We train them on how to invest with little resources to grow their businesses with the skills they acquired on the project. This is gradually increasing their financial power. Not only that, it is serving as a training ground to build a business for themselves so that by the time they are financially empowered, it will grow their businesses to a bigger scale.”
The World Bank Task Team Leader for the project, Mr Michael Ilesanmi, told journalists during the visit: “What we are trying to do is to build social capital for the women while addressing discrimination and social norms that prevent women from reaching their potentials.”
One of the beneficiaries and a member of the affinity groups, Mrs Olabisi Anipupo, expressed delight that she can now run her businesses with her resources.
Anipupo said: “We are now waiting for the financial institution to come in, in terms of financial support. I know that this will also help the country to eradicate poverty because this programme will assist us in expanding our business. I really appreciate the federal government for giving us this opportunity.
She, however, appealed to the government to continue the project in order to capture more women.