Breaking Barriers to Finance

OKOCHA NKEM
Posted May 13, 2015 from Nigeria

In Nigeria, most times when women lose their husbands , she is a called a witch and all sorts of names, she is also forced to undergo all sorts of evil traditions, E.G drinking the water used to bath her husband’s corpse, sleeping in the same room with the corpse etc.

The widow is also most times abandoned by her husband’s families and friends; she is left alone to cater for her children. My mother a widow was left alone to feed and educate her children, feeding and going to school was a miracle, but she was determined.

I started Mamamoni due to the difficulties my mother had educating her children when she lost her husband and because of the jobless and poor women I saw in my community.

According Nigerian 2006 population census, Nigerian women are outnumbered by men. The official gazette indicated that the country's total population of 140,431,790 comprises 71,345,488 males and 69,086,302 females.According to Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, said 70% of Nigerian women are living below poverty line. We are looking at 70% of 69,086,302 which is 48,360,411.4 poor women in Nigeria.

Though female entrepreneurs are on the rise, in Nigeria only 2% receive loans from financial institutions according to noceilings.org (www.noceilings.org/entreprenuers/ ) This is because of barriers faced by these women.

The barriers most poor, rural and urban slum women face when they want to access finance includes;• Lack of collateral • Lack of transaction history• Lack of bank accounts (financial exclusion)• Lack of livelihoodDue to all these challenges these women find it difficult to access finance to sustain or start a business, what we have doing at Mamamoni is increasing women rights to access finance, by eliminating all the barriers they face, how we do this is;• Empower poor , rural and urban slum women with vocational/ livelihood skills• Make them banked (financial inclusion)• Train them on book keeping and financial skills• Provide Behavior Modified Loans which impacts on her ability to succeed in business and her children’s education.

Mamamoni is addressing community transformation by empowering women to carry on small businesses. Loan recipients get low interest loans in return for signing up for behavioral conditionalities designed to create impact on success in business, financial inclusion and children's education.

Mamamoni makes women who have no means of livelihood productively and diligently engaged by empowering them with vocational skills and access to finance through their mobile accounts to start their own business.

For long a time, women and girls in Africa have encountered injustices and inequities in accessing finance, education, health etc and this has had negative impact on their families, communities and their countries as a whole.

A woman that has livelihood skills, a business and access to finance will be able to afford medical treatments which will make her live healthy and longer; also she is less likely to be abused.

We have empowered over a thousand young girls and women in different communities on different vocational and livelihood skills to help generate income to feed and educate their children. These women are now generating income to cater for the needs of their families.

We intend to help reduce extreme poverty, break the cycle of poverty and improve performance and attendance of children in school by empowering women with skills, providing access to finance and financial inclusion.

I am passionate about the change that is possible from investing in women. I say " no woman chose to be poor, but we can choose to help poor women, by investing in them.

The Path to Participation Initiative from World Pulse and No Ceilings

Comments 6

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Alyssa Rust
May 14, 2015
May 14, 2015

Dear Novine,

Thank you so much for sharing. I really enjoyed reading about some of the problems women face in Nigeria. But also that organizations like Mamamoni are doing some great work to try and break down these barriers and provide access for women to make a livelihood and gain skills. Thanks again for sharing.

Sincerely, Alyssa Rust 

OKOCHA NKEM
May 14, 2015
May 14, 2015

Thanks Alyssa, at Mamamoni we are really working hard to break these barriers, so less previliged women can access funds to help their business grow.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
May 17, 2015
May 17, 2015

Dear Novine,

Thank you for sharing. Its good to know that there are people out there like you who are passionate and determined to change the status quo of the women in your country. Thank you for the great work and continue to share your stories. Stay blessed

OKOCHA NKEM
May 18, 2015
May 18, 2015

Thanks Anita, I am commited to empowering women with tools to help lift them out of poverty.

Tamarack Verrall
May 20, 2015
May 20, 2015

Dear Novine,

What you have outlined here is so important for the world to know. Changing attitudes toward, and cruel actions toward women who are widows must be a priority, and you have made it so. What you have created through Mamamoni is not only life changing in the moment for so many women and girls, it also provides such inspiration for many, showing what can be done, and how necessary  and successful it is to offer a plan that is practical, able to solve both immediate and longterm problems. Your love and dedication are a tribute to your mother, to all who find their ways to Mamamoni, and to your own loving, generous and determined spirit. It is so heartening to read about your work.

The best of luck with all you do,

Tam 

OKOCHA NKEM
May 21, 2015
May 21, 2015

Thanks Tam, we will continue to innovate news ways to empower more women especially through technology.

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