Following the success of the Nigeria For Women Project (NFWP) and its impact on women in Abia State, the state government has approved an additional N100 million-counterpart fund and possible extension to all the 17 councils.
The state’s deputy governor, Dr. Ude Chukwu, who revealed this at a media roundtable in Umuahia, said the state keyed into the project as it was in line with the state’s drive towards uplifting the livelihood of the targeted beneficiaries.
He said the NFWP, which is a five-year programme of the Federal Government, with support from the World Bank that commenced in 2018, was to ensure gender balance and improved economic development by using methods that contribute to women’s sources of income, well-being of individual households and the communities at large.
To participate in this World Bank assisted / collaborated project, he said Abia State had paid a N50 million counterpart fund, while the implementation has been on pilot basis in three Local Government Areas (LGAs) with a cumulative total of N3.8 billion grant.
Out of the grant, he said the beneficiaries had so far received over N364 million. The state’s Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development that drives the NFWP implementation formed 2, 949 Women Affinity Groups (WAGs) with a total membership of 63, 689 women, who have each received a grant of N60, 000. 00.
Describing NFWP as a worthy innovative way of alleviating and solving the myriads of challenges facing women, the state commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Nna Uranta, said: “The project is being carried out to help women look inwards for solutions to financial challenges while at the same time, provides the necessary capacity to maximise available resources for better life and livelihood.”
The State Project Coordinator, Georgina Agbagha, said that the participating LGAs were selected from each of the state’s three senatorial zones based on World Bank criteria – poverty level, security and closeness to financial institutions, among others.
According to her, each of the participating six pilot states was expected to have 54, 000 individual beneficiaries grouped into 3, 600 WAGs and that currently, 63, 689 individual beneficiaries were grouped into 2, 949 WAGs.
She further disclosed that “the total savings of WAGs amounted to N196, 571, 861, while they (WAGs) have accessed loans worth N57, 548, 870. The Project has identified and inaugurated 70 champions at state and local government levels.”
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer and Team Leader of Aries Concept Nigeria Limited, the NFWP Behaviour Change Communications (BCC) Firm who organized the Media Roundtable, Bankole Ebisemiju, said that the firm had the mandate to develop a strategy to enable women to develop themselves.
source: The Guardian