The Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society (AHIS), in collaboration with Keystone Bank, has provided financial literacy to over 300 women in underserved communities in the FCT.
The head of Al-Habibiyyah’s Empowerment and Endowment, Hajiya Habibah Ahmed, yesterday said that the project was part of a continuing poverty alleviation project, noting that the over one-week long interaction saw the women, mostly widows and uneducated, from Kpaduma and Kobi villages in Guzape District of the FCT exposed to basic financial and banking knowledge, while over 200 women opened an account each for the first time.
She said, “During the recent cashless policy, we discovered that many of the women the society supports did not own bank account numbers, and those who even owned accounts did not know how to operate them.
“We want to continue to strengthen women and reduce their dependency on handouts and begging by giving them skills and empowering them with what to do with their time.”
In a brief ceremony to hand out empowerment equipment to some women, the Group Head of Keystone Bank’s Retail and Value Chain, Mr Anayo Nwosu, said that the bank had soft loans to give women ,but that understanding how to save and keep record was important to making beneficiaries to optimise the loans.
He said, “We have micro lending for this type of women, and they have demonstrated high integrity. So, we shall continue to work with the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society to reach out to more people.”
One of the beneficiaries, Aisha Umar, commended her exposure to financial matters, saying that she was going to begin to save money and learn the basics of book keeping.
She said, “I am surprised that there is so much I did not know before. Now, I will start saving money in the account, I will also be registering the money I make. You know the money will be coming in trickles since what I will be using the engine for will only bring in petty cash, but from what they told me, if I keep a register, it will help me understand when I am making profit and how to adjust when I am not making profit. I am grateful for this knowledge.”
Leveraging on Al-Habibiyyah’s network with the grassroots, Keystone Bank, through its Employee Volunteering Scheme, opened accounts for 300 women, gave 15 women gasoline-powered milling machines and N5,000 each as start off.