The Kaduna State Women Empowerment Fund, KADSWEF will in subsequent phases double its figure and capture women cottage industry development and agriculture value chain expansion.
The Commissioner, Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba said this at the 4th Kaduna State Women Economic Empowerment Summit in Kaduna.
KADSWEF is a N200 million single digit loan targeted at women in cooperatives that have petty trades and stand alone young female entrepreneurs and startups, with a 10% component set aside for women with disabilities.
The Commissioner said; “goverment is proud of the first beneficiaries of KADSWEF because most of them have been well established and have already started repayment.”
She explained that, “the MSME sector is most impacted by KADSWEF as over 3,000 women entrepreneur beneficiaries have been visited and their trades assessed. With the successes and impacts recorded so far, plans are underway for improvement and sustainability.”
Hajiya Hafsat stated that the empowerment programme has recorded positive results with tremendous impact on the lives of the people of Kaduna State.The disbursement was successfully made to the right beneficiaries who have since started repayment.
The Commissioner attributed the success of the first phase of KADSWEF disbursement to Governor El-Rufai’s persistence to improve the capacity of women to meet funding requirements for MSMEs and to provide more women with entrepreneurial skills, business development, management and financial literacy.
Hajiya Hafsat assured the people that her Ministry would continue to work closely with all the beneficiaries, by supporting and encouraging them to succeed in their various businesses.
“It is my hope that future phases of KADSWEF shall serve as major yardsticks for measuring financial inclusion gains and that its model shall be developed to the level of a frontline women-related social investment program to show the economic viability of the Kaduna woman,” she added
The State Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe said KADSWEF was initiated to enhance women’s access to low interest funds and as well as empower them financially and boost employment.
The fund aims to provide more women with entrepreneurial skills, business development, management and financial literacy.
“KADSWEF brought the disadvantaged groups and the mostly poor women in the informal sector into a more organised setting by empowering them to manage themselves,” Dr Balarabe stated.
He mentioned that, in pursuance to inclusive development, they are obliged to listen, work and support women.
“We all have a duty to give women opportunities, provide for them meaningful access to politics and support their ability to productively participate in the economy.
“We also insist on including them at the table, contributing to the evolution and development of public policy and participating in their implementation,” the Deputy Governor stressed.
According to her, women inclusion will enable the society to benefit from the talents and energies of half of the population that is often ignored.
Excluding women from the paid workforce, entrepreneurial opportunities and political participation amounts to a society wilfully short-changing itself.
The Deputy Governor therefore assured the people of government’s continuous support in all programmes aimed at empowering women and the most vulnerable in the society.
Dr Balarabe commended Governor El-Rufai’s pro-women policies and programmes, saying his records in gender inclusion are unparalleled in Kaduna State.
“In fact, there are more women commissioners, more women heading agencies and more women at the top echelon of government than at any time in the history of the State,” she added.
A beneficiary, Saudatu Isa who spoke amidst tears of joy appreciated government for the laudable initiative.
She said KADSWEF had help to improve the living condition of her famiy and many more families in the State.
“Immediately we received the funds, we started businesses and a lot of us came together to begin a weekly contribution of fifty naira each. This token that we save has changed the lives of our family members,” she stated.
Another beneficiary, Esther Thomas prayed for Governor El-Rufai’s administration, stating that, many groups and clusters have doubled their capital even after refunding the loan.