Newsexpress banner Camano banner
Why WFWI invested N571m in Nigeria’s economy to groom women

By Bukola Onyishi on 08/02/2019

Views: 1,006

•Bukola Onyishi
•Bukola Onyishi

The contribution of women in societal and economic transformation cannot be over-emphasised. For societies to thrive and develop, gender equality is essential and their contribution of utmost importance. As its contribution to societal development, WfWI envisions a world in which all women determine the course of their lives and reach their full potential. Her thematic areas are centred on building knowledge, skill development, resource provision and building groups of networks that play supportive roles to every woman in and after the programme.

Women for Women International – Nigeria, an affiliate of WfWI with headquarters in the USA, commenced operations in Enugu, Nigeria in 2000 and since then her operations have extended to other states – Plateau, Bauchi and Kaduna states in the offing. The organisation’s core work equips socially excluded women living under extreme poverty in conflict areas with meaningful information, skills and support to improve their economic status.

Since inception, WfWI-N has invested over N300 million with an estimated reach of over 64,000 women cutting across three geopolitical zones in Nigeria. The initiative to focus on empowering women is inherent in their vulnerability in times of conflicts, poverty and societal discrimination.

In the words of Michelle Obama: “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” And disregarding this vulnerable group of people denies them of the opportunity to contribute to nation building. It is therefore imperative to support and encourage these women to build income and contribute to the wellbeing of their families and communities. Over the years, we have witnessed a remarkable transformation in the lives of the women we have worked with and this has endeared the organisation to their host communities.

The 12 months programme of WfWI visualises poverty reduction by developing the income earning capacity of the women and providing them with financial assistance (stipends) to sustain them to meet basic needs all through their training. Women undergo vocational skill training, business skill training, numeracy training (for those who had/did not have primary education) and healthcare through referrals amid medical check-ups and health talks. To create long-lasting changes in their communities, women are trained in advocacy and decision-making skills to help develop their capacity to positively influence activities in their homes and immediate communities. The leadership connotation provided by the training impacts their behaviour in effectively managing/expanding retail business; changes their attitude towards condoning acts of violence and gives them a voice and a platform on which to collaborate with stakeholders within their communities to tackle societal ills. The transformation the women undergo during this period translates to a remarkable improvement in earned income, happy family relationships, thriving businesses and healthy lifestyles. The benefits of the programme are also translated to community successes through improved communication between leaders in the community and the women as well as creating effective measures to checkmate incessant cases of violence against women in the community.

The programme does not end at giving information and developing skills, it goes further to provide safe havens for women, even after the programme. In groups of 25 women, the bond of sisterhood is formed through which the women look out for one another, exchange experiences, encourage one another and act as an emotional support system for each other. This bond of sisterhood goes further when the women form Village Savings and Loans Associations, which is a financial support structure that propels them to achieve their dreams, that is start businesses, purchase land, pay school fees, etc. Women continue to be active members of these associations after graduations and most often develop strong bonds of friendship. On the other hand, after graduation, the women are encouraged to form Cooperative Societies and trained on how to manage same.

The efforts of the organisation to induce marginalised women to be actively involved in family affairs and assist in creating a conducive environment for the proper development of their children will be futile if there is no support from their spouses and male relatives. To forestall a breakdown of communication between couples and reinforce marital bonds, WfWI-N introduced a Men’s Engagement Programme that solicits the support of men to stop violence against women and encourage change in attitude towards women’s rights. Since the inception of the programme, over 7000 men have been trained as allies and their training has been cascaded down to other male stakeholders within the communities. This programme has created a lot of awareness to issues of gender equality, human rights and protecting the dignity of women. Though we still encounter defiance from some men at intervals, the programme has been lauded by community stakeholders and reformations have been made to some traditions inimical to the wellbeing of women.

In 2018, WfWI invested the sum of N571 million in the implementation of her programmes Nigeria. In her quest to reach more women in other states, the organisation commenced full-scale training with 300 women in Magama Gumau in Bauchi State in March 2018 with the number increasing to 600 women before the end of 2018. The first batch of enrolled women will graduate in March 2019. To further fulfill her vision of empowering women to reach their full potential, WfWi-N has completed the full assessment of Kaduna State and plans are in motion to start her implementation programme this year. The various state governments have been very supportive, however, more work needs to be done.

It has not been smooth sailing all these years of implementing WfWI programmes. The organisation has been faced with challenges ranging from dwindling donor funds to lack of proper infrastructure. To curb the frequent distraction of lactating women and young mothers during training classes, WfWI came up with the PRaY (Project Raino Yara) initiative, which involves the creation of daycare centres to cater for the children the women bring to classes and relieve their mothers of some stress. The first centre was commissioned at Magama Gumau, Bauchi State on January 29, 2019 and we look forward to many others but we are limited by shortage of funds.

Another challenge is securing spaces within the communities where we work. Over the years, we have enjoyed maximum support from our host communities, but most times spaces are provided in primary schools and when these schools are in session, we experience severe challenges in holding classes. In other instances, the buildings are dilapidated and are subject to the elements during training classes which either makes it too hot or too cold. In addition, the organisation also requires office spaces for operational use in the desired states.

WFWi-N is not only confined to women empowerment, her activities cut across seven of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations: No Poverty (Goal 1), Zero Hunger (Goal 2), Good Health and Wellbeing (Goal 3), Quality Education (Goal 4), Gender Equality (Goal 5), Decent Work and Economic Growth and Peace (Goal 8) and Justice and Strong Institutions (Goal 16).

•Bukola Onyishi is the Country Director, Women for Women International - Nigeria.

Source News Express

Posted 08/02/2019 09:54:26 AM





You may also like...
Work begins on the development of 5G mobile...

Court fixes Feb. 26 to hear Ex-Adamawa Governor’s...

500,000 Lagos residents at risk of epidemic from...

Reps demand urgent negotiation with Boko Haram for...

Scholarship scheme: PTDF to partner Nigerian Universities

Remodeling the forerunners’ method to develop Nigeria, By...

LG polls to hold soon in Abia

Oyo lawmakers lament collapse of Ogbomosho-Oyo road; Senate...

Offa robbery: Murder of kingpin must be probed,...

Shell allays communities’ fears over proximity of pipelines...

Uduaghan assures of mass turnout for Jonathan in...

Lagos Int’l Trade Fair: LCCI declares Nov. 10...


Latest News EFCC investigating Okorocha, others — Magu Communications Minister in multimillion naira contracts scandal Adamawa, Kano, Ogun, Oyo top list of Buhari’s aides Insecurity: Service Chiefs have got to go — Prof Odinkalu Anglican Church sacks four homosexual priests Governors Forum chairmanship: PDP governors reject el-Rufai Only disruptive entrepreneurs can save Nigeria’s economy — Ekeh Footballers, fans feared dead as boat capsizes Senate leadership tussle gets messy UN General Assembly Presidency: Nigeria’s Muhammad Bande outlines vision FAAN gets new MD Trump threatens ‘the official end of Iran’ as tension escalates


Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (480,359 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (419,516 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (358,012 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (306,097 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (270,407 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (241,345 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (229,265 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (211,002 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (202,436 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (200,283 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (181,331 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (181,280 views)


UBA Wise Savers Promo


Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (91) Business & Economy (4,269) Business Verdict (71) Columnists (1,031) Complaints & Requests (95) Enterprise & Opportunities (208) Entertainment (614) Features (752) Global Business Monitor (362) ICT Monitor (43) International (3,465) Interview (179) Live Commentary (29) Love Matters (161) Maggie's Blog (268) News (46,330) Opinion (1,242) Pidgin (17) Politics (10,799) Religion (1,004) Sports (2,009) Stock Watch (39) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update






APO Group Partner




GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member



Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera