((Members of NYSC showcasing their skills acquisition products in Kaduna recently))
//Empowerment: Godwin Ekosin, Kaduna
United Nations Women said they are partnering with Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to empower 500,000 women across Nigeria as they launched “one woman one ID card” project aimed at increasing their level of financial inclusion.
If well implemented, the empowerment programme will afford the selected 5,000 Kaduna women for the pilot phase the opportunity to be specially trained in their interested businesses, access soft loan and other financial components as well as open them to other local and foreign organizations who are interested in empowering women in Nigeria.
Speaking at the launch of the project in Kaduna, UN Women Representative, Ms Adjaratou Ndiaye said for UN Women, the campaign is a critical phase to help women who are sometimes the most vulnerable when it comes to human rights, have their citizenship formally recognised and claim their rights in a variety of domain.
She said, “in UN women, support to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment and possession of a national ID card are fundamental stages to women’s participation in political governance, access to financial resources, their protection as a full citizen of a Nation and a sub region to guarantee their well-being and safe mobility.”
Ndiaye explained that the project which is being piloted in Kaduna State, would empower 70% of Nigerians living under poverty line majority of whom are women, adding that gendered challenges of lower representation in decision making positions, informal employment, lower income, lower education and limited access to information and constraints on mobility are some of lapses to be added.
“That is why UN Women seize the opportunity offered by the initiative of the Nigeria government in partnership with MasterCard to roll out a pilot phase of National Identity Management Cards embedded with biometric-based verification and electronic payment capabilities to ensure that a large number of women benefit from the operation.
“The strategy directly addresses four initiatives to encourage financial inclusion: development of diverse financial products; enhancement of payment processes, development of a credit system and encourage a saving culture mentality. She said.
The Organiser of the project, Zamani Foundation, noted that that, the scheme is targeted at empowering 5,000 women in the state to reduce the poverty level among them and the society in general, saying, “when you empower a woman you have empowered the nation”.
International Project Coordinator of Zamani Foundation, Amina Zamani also added that, the idea was not just to give the women ID cards but “to financially empower them by training them in financial savingness, business trainings etc. The card will also give them access to everything you do with an ID card, voting rights, travelling rights, even in banking by using it to register for an account.
“We are also adding a financial component, it will make it easier for rural women who can not have direct access to banking services to have access through this card. You can as well get public and private support through this card.”
In a remark, Kaduna State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Rabi Abdulsalam commended the Foundation, UN women and other partners in the project for giving women who are mothers of the nation priority by launching the “one Woman one ID card” project and piloting same Kaduna.
According to her, “the government under the leadership of Governor El-rufai, is making commendable effort to upgrade the standard of economic status of women who are expected to be occupying about 50% on the National Population.
“We are aware that ignorance is the poverty of the mind and we must do everything possible to educate our women on whatever subject as long as it creates and fosters their empowerment that will be beneficial to the society.