All women above 18 are welcome. The groups practice rotational leadership, and each member is expected to participate in savings and credit. Profit is shared. The women also access additional funding as grants to start or expand their businesses. Some women previously participated in a lending system that failed because of the high-interest fees.
Skills training for better livelihoods
The program is also offering targeted skills training so that women receive the tools for economic sustenance and business longevity.
Chidinma is one of 18 women in her affinity group. Soon after joining, she started saving between 200 naira and 1,000 naira weekly. During her second month, she sought a loan to acquire land to start cassava farming. She also bought fertilizer to boost her yield. Her land had a good harvest, and Chidinma repaid the loan from the sales of cassava. As her income increased, she was able to continue saving larger sums. Chidinma has also learned saving and investing basics, and she is now better equipped to grow her business into a very profitable venture.
“The training on financial education and business skills has helped the women to start and manage their businesses," says Vivian Akatuobi, a Women Affinity Group facilitator in the Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State: “Gender-based violence training also helps women live peacefully with their husbands.”
Women entrepreneurs in Nigeria face many obstacles in male-dominated professions like agriculture. In addition to gender biases, discriminatory policies, and other forms of harassment, women often have limited access to land, funding, networks, and the education available to men. Nigeria for Women is helping overcome these challenges and improve the standards of living in rural communities.