Empowering Nigerian women and girls with disabilities, with CBM UK
Village savings and loans groups are empowering hundreds of women and girls with disabilities in Nigeria from support of CBM UK.
With the help of a Jo Cox Memorial Network grant, CBM UK alongside their local partner, Disability Rights Advocacy Centre, have established a vibrant economic-empowerment programme, entitled ‘Break the Cycle’ for vulnerable women and girls with disabilities living in high levels of poverty.
In the outskirts of the capital Abuja, the project – called Break the Cycle – is working in partnership with 646 women and girls with disabilities, on a range of activities designed to strengthen their social, economic, and political power, break down harmful gender norms, and give them the confidence to believe in themselves. These include the formation of 49 village savings and loans groups (VSLAs), where women can lean into the collective power of group savings to enable a secure way to access credit for income-generation activities.
As of January 2022,
- 63% of these groups (31/49) had completed their first 12-month cycle of savings, meaning
- All members have paid in, taken a loan, paid back, and moved into their second savings cycle.
Given the challenges presented by COVID-19, these are impressive results.
The project also provides vocational and business training to the women, such as tailoring and sewing. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were also taught to create sanitation products, helping to keep themselves safe as well as to provide an income.
For example, by January 2022:
- More than 200 women had completed training in producing soap, petroleum jelly and hand sanitiser
- They had also started selling them, both individually and in collectives with their VSLA peers and
- 20 women from the same group were also participating in leadership training, aspiring to take up leadership roles within their communities, and wider political spaces.