Our Safe Spaces Project: NGO Inaugurates Women Cooperatives

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By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative, (EWEI), on Monday inaugurated four multipurpose cooperative societies for beneficiaries of its Safe Our Spaces (OSS) project in Kaduna State.
EWEI’s Senior Programme Officer on Communications, Uche Egbe, explained that one of the aims of the day’s event was to mark this year’s International Women’s Day and also inaugurate the OSS women multipurpose cooperative societies.
He said the cooperatives, namely; Unity Women Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd., and Taimakon Juna Women Multipurpose Cooperative Society would be run by beneficiaries from Ungwan Romi Community.
While the Nasarallahi Women Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd., and Cigaban Al’umma Women Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd are for beneficiaries from Ungwan Dosa Community.
Egbe, who is also the Focal Person for the project OSS, explained further that from the trainings beneficiaries have undergone on different forms of Gender-Based Violence.(GBV), one of such is the formation of cooperatives aimed at tackling economic forms of violence which places women at a disadvantaged position against their male counterparts.
“We believe through these cooperatives, the beneficiaries can come together to start up income generating skills, putting to use what they were taught in the trainings and be able to come up with something that will make them self-reliant and also source for funding for themselves from the cooperative societies,” he said.
Also speaking, a customer service officer from Mabinas Microfinance Bank Ltd., Ms Sumayyah Aliyu, said four cooperatives were formed from the two communities to help beneficiaries sustain themselves, and also to become a safe space for them where they can come together and discuss their problems and advocate for their communities.
“In the first session, beneficiaries were taught business conceptualization and the key take away was for them to understand what a business entails. Then business management was where beneficiaries understood how to run the business.
“Financial management was for them to understand how to manage the money gotten from the business and also how to access their finances to start up and run the business,” she said.
A beneficiary from Ungwan Dosa Community, As’mau Musa, expressed joy over the  OSS project.
“I’m a widow and also an orphan. This programme means so much to me. I have been the breadwinner for my two children. No help from any quarters, but with this programme I can have sustainable income. I’m very grateful to EWEI,” she said.
The Ward Head of Ungwan Romi, Habila Sarki, said the initiative has greatly touched the lives of women and dependants in his community.
He appreciated the organization for its foresight to affect lives of his subjects.
The project OSS which is supported by the United Nations Trust Fund to end violence against women in Kaduna State seeks to promote beneficiaries’ access to psychosomatics support systems and economic empowerment opportunities to facilitate normalization of their lives.
The project is engaging over 450 primary and secondary beneficiaries cut across two communities in Kaduna, namely; Ungwan Romi, and Ungwan Dosa in Chikun and Kaduna North LGAs respectively.

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