From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin

No fewer than 80,493 women have benefitted from the Nigeria For Women Project (NFWP) in three local government areas of Kebbi State within five years of its implementation.

The Project Coordinator of Nigeria For Women Project (NFWP), Alhaji Yakubu Muhammad-Yauri, disclosed this.

The NFWP is a Federal Government’s project implemented through the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, with financial support from the World Bank.

While highlighting the success of the project, Muhammad-Yauri explained that the project, which was implemented in Ngaski, Argungu and Maiyama LGAs was the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The project is using platforms such as the WAGs, which is a formation of 25 economically active women in each group. These women self-selected themselves into their groups and are guided by ward facilitators.

“The NFWP has done so well in the state such that for once, we surpassed our target of 54,000 beneficiaries, recording about 80,493 women benefited and are still benefiting from the NFWP in Kebbi.”

Yauri disclosed that the project, with the support from the state government, had disbursed grants to the tune of N3.27 billion to 73,784 women across the implementing local government areas.

“Before now, women were into businesses, yet, the businesses were not doing so well. This was due to many factors such as inability to save, difficulty in accessing loans, lack of financial education and knowledge of needs and wants, lack of business skills and knowledge of how and when to diversify.

“When these women joined WAGs, they were equipped with requisite necessary knowledge and skills, which in turn, helped their businesses to rapidly grow,” the coordinator said.

In their reactions, beneficiaries interviewed at Maiyama Local Government during a trip organised by an NGO, Aries Concept Nigeria Limited, led by Mrs Adesola Oyawoye, the Head of Operations and Communication Specialist commended the organisation for the gesture.

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Malama Rabi’atu Abdullahi, from Tallafi Women Affinity Groups (WAGs), explained that she had started her petty business of selling assorted food spices, rice and palm oil with a meagre amount of money.

“When I was contacted to join WAGs, I did not hesitate to do so, and through the association, in partnership with NFWP, I was able to secure a soft loan of N20,000.

“After taking the loan, with the help of God, I gradually started redeeming it, and within the shortest possible time, I was able to redeem the loan in full,” she said.

On her part, Balkisu Yahaya, from Nasara Women Affinity Group, said she was selling rice, rearing cows, sheep and goats for commercial purposes from the loan of N30,000 she took in 2020 through the project.

“The programme, through our group, has really impacted on my life and my family. I’ve now enrolled my children in a private school,” she said.

Also narrating her success, Mallama A’isha Ibrahim, from Munemi Nakammu Women Affinity Group, said she used to plait women’s hair as her business, adding that she was able to expand her business after receiving a loan of N15,000 from her group through the women project.

“The project has really impacted on us and changed our lives. I am now into the groundnut and livestock business,” he said.

She commended WAGs and the project for impacting positively on women’s lives, especially in Maiyama Local Government Area of the state.

Alhaji Muhammadu Aliyu, district head of Maiyama, expressed satisfaction over the impact of the project on not only women but also families in his domain.

“Empowering a housewife is as good as empowering the entire household,” he said.