It is no longer news that over 70 per cent of Nigerians live in rural areas and greater part of this percentage is made up of women, who mostly have been riddled with abject poverty.
Over the years, a major challenge faced by rural women has been a lack of financial inclusion, which has further worsened their plight. But this jinx to a large extent has been broken in the socio-economic lives of rural women in Kastina and Zamfara States.
These two states are part of the 12 states selected for training on savings, financial literacy, investments and loan repayments under the Federal Govern-ment’s Rural Finance Institution Building Programme, RUFIN, sponsored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, for the six years the programme has lasted.
The Deputy National Coordinator, RUFIN, Mrs Ufaruna Unekwu, during a media tour and assessment of the programme in Kastina and Zamfara States disclosed that with the level of success of financial inclusion; Rural Women Bank will be established to further empower women financially and economically.
In sharing their success story with the media team at Zamfara and Kastina States one of the women’s groups in Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Tallafi Mata Masu Dubara, the chairperson, Hajia Suwaiba Aliyu, said the group was rescued out of poverty’s grinding jaws through financial inclusion via access to microfinance institutions.
Aliyu said: “Our success story is enormous because we were really under grinding poverty and frustration before RUFIN came to our rescue by training us on how to be financially literate which includes proper savings culture, investment in business, access to micro loan facilities through microfinance institutions, loan repayments, accountability and self reliance.
“Today we are financially buoyant and have expanded our businesses from groundnut farmers to groundnut processing and production in commercial quantities, large scale farming of various crops, and also we have become loan service providers to other women in our community.
“Our members can now comfortably feed their families, sponsor their children to any level of formal education. Some have also bought and built houses. There are other businesses other than agribusiness we do as well.”
Also narrating her story, Hauwa Modeh, member of Kainuwa Dashen Allah (Blessing of God) Women Society, in Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State, said financial inclusion through RUFIN and training have helped her to access microfinance loans, which she has used to invest in her petty trade and now she is into big time textile business, and has bought a house worth N650, 000 in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, and also has commercial motorcycles for business.
“My living condition was really terrible. To feed was a problem and I was just frustrated, but now I am out of poverty. I am doing well with my textile business, and I have a shop rented and stocked with textile materials, and with the profit I have bought a house worth N650, 000 in Gusau”, Abubakar said.