Women working in a co-operative.
The Chiemeucheya women group is from Nkanu East local government area of Enugu state. This group is made up of low income women and was selected after community assessments, home visits and meetings with stake holders in the community. This community lacks basic amenities like water, electricity, good roads, health centers etc. The majority of the women had little or no education and were struggling to recover from the ills of former communal clashes in their community and as well deal with the economic hardships they were facing. Security issues in this community also created disruptions to education, as children had to be kept at home.
The original number of women enrolled was 160. Out of the 160, 156 are active. The active participants formed and registered as a cooperative group under the name chiemeucheya; which when translated means that God has done his wish by uniting them to work together and strengthen each other as a group.
They received all the topics scheduled by the program under the major broad headings below
- Program introduction and overview
- Women in politics
- Women in economy
- Women in the family
- Women and health
- Women and nutrition
They also received skill training on poultry and did an initial pilot test with a total of 150 birds which they sold off after they reached maturity at 10 weeks. Due to the success of their first attempt at poultry farming and still using their temporary poultry site, they ordered for a second batch of 200 birds to be reared. Through the trainings they received, they learnt about the importance of savings and thus opened an account where they lodge in their savings (money).
Their traditional ruler, stakeholders, as well as members of land committee in their community gave them a piece of land where they could erect their permanent poultry house. They have started clearing the land and would start construction once they finalize signing of an agreement with the stakeholders with the help of a lawyer.
These women declared that the formation of their co-operative is a long term investment which would help them to improve their lives emotionally, socially and economically as they have learnt to trust each other.
Some of the women had this to say about the progress they have made so far.
“My name is Theresa Ogbu. I am a single mother of three girls all below 9 years. I separated from my husband after he abandoned me for another woman because I was unable to have a surviving male child. My only son died when he was still a toddler. I used part of the funds I got from the program to start up my sewing business in my father’s house. I was sewing before I got married but my husband made me to stop it after we had married. I make between N600 – N 800 per month because not everybody makes new clothes. Part of the funds I received also helped me to cultivate more crops in my farm than I never did before. Having learnt about poultry farming during their skill training, I am now saving towards starting a poultry farm of my own.”
“My Name is Agatha Nwatu. I am mother of seven (5 boys and 2 girls). Some of my children were sent at a tender age to work as house helps for other people. Though sending them out was not my intention, I had to comply with my husband because of our financial constraints. Participating in the program and joining the cooperative group helped me to interact with other participants, with whom I share my challenges with. I am happier than before I joined the program. This is because before I joined the program, I get foodstuffs (which I sell) on credit and pays back after selling. But because I have a target on when to pay back, I had to sell them off with little or no profit so that I will not loose the trust of the wholesaler. When I started receiving monthly sponsorship funds, I used part of it to solve my immediate family problems, saved part of it, and reduced buying on credit. Instead of buying all the food items on credit, I pay for some and take my time to sell and with this I make more profit.”
Women work to clear ground.