WfWI's Poultry Marketing Initative is part of a comprehensive training program WfWI offers to participants. Read on for an update on the entire program from WfWI-Nigeria Country Director Ngozi Eze.
It is heart warming to write to you once again. I hope all is well with your families and friends and life is treating you beautifully. Over the last several months, we have taken part in a major expansion and have enrolled more. Thanks to a fantastic increase in sponsors over the last several months, we are able to provide our services to so many more women who truly need it.
While enrolling participants in the Edem community in Enugu State, we discovered the community suffered an outbreak of tuberculosis. When some of the participants were asked how a family member passed away, they would usually attribute it to “being poisoned,” even though their family members had died from the disease. In order to address this misconception, we have now added more information to our rights awareness training about the prevention and care of tuberculosis, using a curriculum developed by the Ministry of Health. The information includes eating a balanced diet, keeping a healthy immune system and sleeping in well-ventilated rooms.
In Jos, where our satellite office is located in the northern part of the country, we have been able to combine both the Muslim and Christian women into one classroom for workshops. Because of the religious conflict that has plagued the northern region of Nigeria, we previously had to have the women meet at two different locations. Initially, there was fear and suspicion on the minds of the participants, due to the violence that broke out in 2001. To their surprise, they were greeted by the people of the community. For some, it was like a reunion with their long lost friends whom they had not seen since the conflict. We are of the belief that with this new arrangement, we will be part of the peace-building process and we will continue to advocate for the peaceful coexistence of the two groups through our non-discriminatory stance, as well as through our rights awareness, leadership and skills training programs.
Currently, 360 participants are participating in skills training, including soap-making, batik or “tie-dye” production, business skills training and knitting. We are also encouraging our participants to form groups and register as business cooperatives to use their new skills, as well as open bank accounts. Once a group registers as a cooperative, they are an “official organization” and therefore are entitled to benefits by the government in regards to taxation and interest rates. Although the registration and banking is a cumbersome process, as many villages do not have local banks, we believe that this will promote sound income-generation activities once they graduate from the program.
One participant, Antonia, was a peasant farmer and sometimes sold tobacco on a small scale before joining our program. Her husband left her in the village and went to live in Enugu and married another woman. She was very sad and upset at having to care for her children alone. She lives in one room in her father-in-law’s house with a zinc roof and pit toilet. Apart from benefiting from the rights awareness training classes which enabled her to interact with other women, during the program she learned how to make shoes and repair them and she now specializes in slippers – a business she now runs from her home. She also sells basic provisions, such as drinks and condiments, from her home. Emotionally, she says she is much happier as she can now meet her children’s needs. She and her children still live in her father-in-law’s house. Her future goal is to improve on her shoemaking skills and become renowned in her village. She told us, “This organization has not only given me more money by teaching me to become a shoemaker, it has also helped to make me happy and reduce my constant thinking and worries.”
Till I write again, the participants and staff of the Nigeria office send you many thanks for all that you do.
We wish you peace, love and lots of blessings.
Women for Women International -- Nigeria.