Women Economic Empowerment Program
The Women Economic Empowerment Program (WEEP) is an initiative that focuses on improving the economic situation of women in the rural communities of Abuja, by supporting their business (financially and trainings) to enable them better to fend for their families.
It is divided into II phases:
- Phase I: Would help women who have small businesses or have started a business previously and failed by boosting their business with 0% interest free revolving loans which would in turn improve their standard of living.
- Phase II: Focused on farming, women in these rural communities would be given loans to start a corporative farm.
Women are the back bones of any society, it is said that when you empower a woman you empower a Nation, hence the reason we decided to empower women. For every community we empower, the women will be in a group headed by a leader (women leader), assistant leader and a secretary who would be appointed by the women themselves, the loans will be given to the first set of women in these cooperatives while the next set of women will be in line waiting for the same money, these would bring about team work, accountability, transparency, unity and trust.
Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Face2Face Network Abuja carried out an initial community entry on the 7th of December 2016 to better understand the community, familiarize ourselves with the women, and explain to them what the project was all about. This was conducted in English, Hausa, Igbo and Gbagyi Languages. Finally, we ended with taking a tour round the community and went to some of the women shop.
On the 10th of December 2016, YALI Abuja in partnership with Ventures Platform Park hosted a cocktail and impact event, which was to show case the impact YALI Abuja has made over a period of 6 months, the projects executed, and to unveil the WEEP project alongside raising funds for the WEEP Project. Through the fund raising we were able to raise 220,000 naira to execute the project in the first community.
A needs assessment interview was conducted for the women on the 13th of December 2016, they were asked question on their businesses, children, marital status, how much was used to start the business and their weekly profit.
An interview was conducted for the women on the 13th of December 2016. From the data collected.
I: The 37 women in attendance ranged in age from 19-46 years
II: Two (2) women sell akara, pap, fried yam, and sweet potato, one (1) sells roasted yam, three (3) have provision stores, three (3) have a provision store and sells food items, one (1) has a farm and a provision store, one (1) is a tailor and has a provision store, one (1) is a tailor and sells food items, three (3) sells banana, one (1) caters, two (2) are tailors, five (5) have restaurants, three (3) sell food items, one (1) farms cassava and processes it to garri, two (2) sells rubber slippers, one (1) has a chemist shop, one (1) sells fuel/ugu leaves, one (1) sells kerosene, one (1) sells moi-moi, one (1) sells awara, and the last sells wrapper.
III: 35 women are married, and 2 are widows.
IV: They have 126 children in total at an average of 6 per woman and age range of 4months old – 23 years old.
V: A total of five (5) of the children are not going to school.
A training was conducted for the women on the 23rd of March 2017, they were taught savings, book keeping, and branding, after the training the women selected their women leader, assistant women leader, and the secretary, the leaders were then given books for documentation
Participants were divided into 3 groups of 10 each and the last 7. The division was based on urgency, profit margin and viability of business.
Each of the women would be given 20,000 naira each ($60) and would pay back a minimum of 2,000 naira each ($6) by the end of every month to the women leader, who would then give it to the next woman on the list. The list would be given to the women, so they would know their turns, these would bring by about transparency and accountability.
On the 19th of April 2017, the first set of women were given 20,000 naira each ($60), and to pay back a minimum of 2,000 naira each ($6) monthly (a sort of revolving fund) which would then be given to the next woman on the list.
The money was disbursed to the first set of women on the 19th of April 2017, 6 women were taken to market by YALI members to buy what they needed for their businesses worth 20,000 naira each, and any change left was given to them in cash. Four of the women were given cash due to the fact that they bought the goods at an early morning market, which is very far away from the community and the volunteers won’t be able to join them. At the end they signed for the money collected.
I: Continue Engagement: For the phase I of this project we would want to scale to 6 other communities, using the same model.
II: WEEP Phase II: The phase II of these project would focus on women who are into similar farming produce, loans would be giving to them so to boost their produce and to process their farm produce (if it can be processed) into order products.
The women expressed their gratitude to every single person who has donated and volunteered to this wonderful cause. Without your support, WEEP as a project would not be where it is right now, and we (YALI Abuja) sincerely appreciate.
CALL TO ACTION
We are kindly requesting for further support for the WEEP project, nothing is too small to help boost and stabilize these wonderful women, which in turn is used to provide for their family, send their children to school and put a roof over their head. Your donations would be revolving round different communities. Please kindly pledge to support the project, help tell your network members, family and friends.