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Boosting widows’ businesses through revolving loans

Women entrepreneurship is crucial to economic growth around the world. From petty trading, small scale businesses to multinational conglomerates, it offers them financial independence and…

Women entrepreneurship is crucial to economic growth around the world. From petty trading, small scale businesses to multinational conglomerates, it offers them financial independence and economic empowerment to contribute their quota to the development of the country.
For widows, it is a panacea for poverty which many of them often face. It provides them a means to cater for the needs of their families and help lessen their burden of solitude.
Empowering widows with a revolving loan is an initiative planned by an international non-governmental organization, Women Advancement for Economic and Leadership Empowerment in Africa, WAELE/ARCELFA this year to help widows start businesses or boost the ones they are already into.
The organization has earmarked 1, 200 widows for the scheme. 100 widows each in Benue, Lagos, Adamawa, Kebbi and Enugu are expected to benefit from the scheme. 100 widows will benefit in South Sudan and another 100 from Saharawi Republic.
The empowerment will commence from Benue State on March 8, the International Women’s Day. The Benue State government has decided to partner with WAELE/ARCELFA on the programme and will empower 100 widows in addition to the 100 WAELE/ARCELFA will be empowering with the revolving loans.
Founder/president of the organization, Otunba Basirat Nahibi-Niasse, said the NGO has earmarked the sum of two million naira as revolving loan for each of the selected states and also appointed coordinators for the target states who will select the widows.
She told the coordinators at an executive meeting of the organization in Abuja that N20,000 will be given to each widow and they will pay back at an agreed time.
Each widow will thereafter run the business of her choice.
Nahibi-Niasse, who is also the West Africa Coordinator of AU/ECOSOCC Women & Gender, and also a member of African Union (AU) Steering Committee for The Fund for African Women, said she came up with the initiative because she knows how widows suffer trying to get capital to start businesses or keep it running.
She said the organization intends to visit internally displaced widows in Adamawa State, as well as  those displaced in South Sudan, Saharawi and other countries.
Nahibi-Niasse has been involved in the empowerment of women since her days as President-General of  the Better Life for African Women project initiated by the late Nigerian First Lady, Maryam Babangida, before  establishing WAELE/ARCELFA 12 years ago.
North West coordinator of the revolving loan project,  Hajiya Hadiza Hassan, appreciated her efforts in empowering women across Africa and  urged Nigerians to emulate her and cater for widows and the less privilege.

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