The Nigeria For Women Project (NFWP) will begin disbursement of $15 million project fund to benefiting members of the NFWP Women Affinity Groups (WAGs) in the three pilot Local Government Areas in Niger state.
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NFWP, National Project Coordinator, Mrs Ruth Peter Mshelia, made this known, at a two-day media workshop in Abuja for a select section of the media on new trends in women development in Nigeria.
The NFWP Coordinator, said the media workshop was an aspect of the NFWP’s project development objectives, which is a five-year project of the federal government with support from the World Bank, explained that NFWP was being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and six state governments.
Listing the states as Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Kebbi, Niger, Ogun, and Taraba, Mshelia noted the states had subsidiary loan agreement with the federal government to avoid abuse of project implementation; just as the WAGs comprising over 300,000 women had raised not less than N1 billion and sustained various rural businesses across the six geo-political zones.
Blueprint reports that 53,000 beneficiaries in each state were eligible to receive maximum of N60,000 from the $15,000 overall project fund based on business individual plans.
The coordinator explained that all women, 18 years and above involved in any form of legal and locally accepted business activity were eligible to belong to a WAG made up of between 15 and 25 who have common areas of interest within a locality.
She further stated that WAG members were also expected to complete mandatory trainings in saving and investment as well provide feasible business plans in their areas of interest individually and as a group in order to benefit from the grant.
According to her, “The project is supporting Nigerian government’s efforts of ensuring gender equality and improving women’s economic well being at individual, household level and the community at large.
“A first of its kind in Sub-saharn Africa, the NFWP project works closely with existing community structures to influence a change in negative social norms, provide market linkages for goods and services produced by women and improve the overall livelihood of women.”
Speaking further she stared that, “The project development objective is to support improved livelihoods for women in targeted areas of Nigeria.
“The project has been supporting people people impacting lives of women ans families in three LGAs of each of the implementing states.
“The project, in the last one year, has been recording life changing results in women in across the country uplifting lives and improving livelihoods.”
The World Bank, Senior Special Development Specialist and Task Team Leader (TTL), Dr. Michael Illesanmi, who addressed the workshop online said: “You know, this whole concept of investing in women’s economic empowerment, is one way to address empowerment across the board.
“In Nigeria, the government in its wisdom decided to invest as part of this whole human capital agenda in women’s economic empowerment and I was just telling,
“When we invest in women, you, transform households for the better and by extension communities, and the country at large.”
Highpoint of the workshop, which featured paper presentations on objectives and implementation of NFWP, was a field visit by participants to some beneficiary LGAs in Niger state.