As part of its Career Building and Enterpreneurship Program (CBEP), CSAAE organized a “Women Economic Inclusion and Empowerment Drive” for the Catholic Women Organization of Mount Carmel’s Catholic Church, Emekuku, on October 5, 2020.
According to the CBEP Manager, Ms. Ifeoma Oronsaye, the aim of the drive is to lift 360,000 women especially widows and breadwinner moms raising underaged children out of poverty between now and December 2021, through the Centre’s Young Mompreneurs Initiative (YOMI).
YOMI was launched to lift women out of poverty by assisting them to develop enterprises that can sustain their families. YOMI achieves its goal by mainstreaming women owned MSMEs from the informal to the formal sector.
As explained by Ms. Oronsaye, although several studies show that Nigeria has more women entrepreneurs than any other country in the world, Nigeria’s most recent poverty index shows that Nigerian business women are the worst hit by poverty because they are operating within the informal sector. Being in the informal sector means that these business women have not registered with the government; no business bank accounts; no access to funding; have poor business management practices and have no health insurance.
All these make it difficult for these women to grow their enterprises, earn more money and escape poverty because they never qualify for government aids and benefits aimed at strengthening enterprises; cannot access credit facilities from financial institutions to scale up their businesses; cannot access customers and market actors to increase sales and productivity; use their capital to obtain medical treatment and go out of business for lack of funds.
For these women to grow their businesses, earn more money and escape poverty, there is need to mainstream them from the informal sector to the formal sector. This involves assisting them to register their enterprises with CAC and open business bank accounts; access business loans through her financial institution partners; access grants and government aids; facilitate technical and business management trainings for them.
It will also involve assisting them to access health, business and children-education insurance. Additionally, the women will be linked to customers, large buyers and other market actors.
Appreciating CSAAE on behalf of the Parish Priest (Rev. Fr. Dr. Stephen Egwim), the CWO president of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, Dr. Mrs Ndidiamaka Mbata, described the outreach as a rare opportunity that women should grab to better their lives. “A good number of women do not know the benefits of insurance. Insurance is seen and elevated to be affordable only by the rich but today that notion has changed. Even the downtrodden can also insure themselves.” She called on women to enroll in the programme and make good use of it while advising CSAAE not to be discouraged if it faces any set back but should continue in the good work. “This is a genuine outreach,” she emphasized.
Expressing her gratitude to CSAAE, one of the 70 participants, Mrs. Amaka Ugwu said that she now understands why her business is not progressing as she desires. She admitted that her business is not formally registered and lacks the right exposure and branding. She also admitted to struggling with lack of proper business management skills and can see how these have been contributing to her set back. She promised to join YOMI so as to grow her business while calling on her fellow women to join also.
- It should be noted that CSAAE is a nonprofit dedicated to helping young people build great careers, cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship, become effective leaders and embrace their roles as critical actors in building a better Nigeria. The Centre pursues its mission through three programs that share the common goal of creating positive social, economic and political change one person at a time.
- A Career Building and Entrepreneurship Program (CBEP) that helps young people get the education they need, secure employment or initiate enterprises that contribute to the development of Nigeria.
- An Effective Leadership Program (ELP) that nurtures leaders committed to the development of Nigeria.
- A Youth Ethics and Anticorruption Program (YEAP) that raises the consciousness of young people to the importance of good governance, rule of law, human rights and anticorruption towards the development of Nigeria.
CSAAE carries out its operations from its Owerri and Abuja offices in Nigeria with technical support from its U.S. office. The Founder, Rev. Fr. Dr. Godswill Agbagwa (priest, ethicist, socialpreneur and youth animator) grew up in Nigeria. While studying abroad as a graduate student, he was struck by the contrasts he saw between the levels of poverty and underdevelopment in Africa compared to the Western countries he visited. Those experiences became the genesis of CSAAE, its programs, and the five core values at the foundation of his work namely: punctuality, integrity, solidarity, creativity and accountability.