Empowerment is a procedure that aids to give an individual power and control over one’s life.
In the twenty-first century, there has been a rise in awareness of the importance of female empowerment and the ripple effect it could have on societal development. Studies have shown that when more women are empowered, there is more economic development. Women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity, increases economic diversification, in addition to other positive development outcomes.
It is unfortunate that today, women are not given the opportunity to live up to their full potential because of cultural and economic barriers placed on them. The present day society limits women to the confines of their homes and makes them home-keepers.
Most families in Africa depend on women to care for them and to provide necessities for survival. This has led us to believe that women are the major drivers of development in the family as a unit, and thus the society at large. If a woman is educated, then her children will likely be educated as well. If a woman is empowered and accorded her full human rights, she will provide her household with good nutrition, education and medicine thereby aiding stronger food security and increased access to health care especially in rural areas.
Women face disproportionate challenges ranging from sexual exploitation to illiteracy and disease. At Aham Rochas Foundation, we recognize the importance of women to the society and also their role in nation building.
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Female Entrepreneur Program (FEP)
The Aham Rochas foundation, through the Female Entrepreneur Program (FEP), is committed to the promotion of women’s active participation in the social and economic growth of societies through entrepreneurship.
We create opportunities for women through education, entrepreneurship and vocational training. We are dedicated to building the lives of disenfranchised women in the society. We also provide the capital needed to startup and establish businesses for women.
Our activities include:
- Vocational skills training
- Formal education
- Leadership development
- Community building
The Aham Rochas foundation through the FEP provides the knowledge and skills required of women to make successful entrepreneurs of themselves.
Some of our Female Empowerment Stories are:
Mrs Bilky’s Poultry Farm
Mrs Bilky is a mother of four who hails from Maiduguri, Borno state. She and her family are victims of the insurgency caused by Boko Haram in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria. She lives in Karon-majigi IDP camp.
She and her family were going through tough times as they found it hard to carter for their basic needs after being victims of the insurgency going on in the North-East.
We heard about her situation and decided we could help her by empowering her. After finding out she was interested in poultry farming since she had done it before, we constructed a chicken pen for her and gave her fifty chicks to grow and nurture.
After some time, most of the chicks died due to health related challenges. We got her a veterinary doctor who treated the sick chicks and ensured they were healthy. This prevented further mortality.
Some months passed by and the remaining chickens were sold. From the little proceeds she could gather, she bought more chicks for herself and was also able to get a small shop.
Seeing her dedication and hard work, we decided to enrol all her children in our Emergency Education Program (EEP). After a successful completion of the program, all four were enrolled in schools and were given scholarships. We hope they excel just as their mother did. Today, Bilky’s Poultry Farm contains over two hundred birds and from her proceeds, she carters for her family.
Mrs Hindatu’s Story
One of our success stories, Mrs Hindatu, is a mother of eleven (11), out of which five of them are our scholarship beneficiaries presently.
She and her family migrated from Borno to Karon-Majigi in Abuja as Internally Displaced Persons due to the insurgency and mayhem unleashed by the dreaded Boko-Haram terrorist group.
As a result of their unexpected migration to a new location so different and far from home, coming to terms with living in the new reality, while trying to have a means of livelihood to be able to carter for herself and her family was going to be a difficult task. Due to the unfavourable financial conditions, she had to settle for the role of being a housewife.
Hindatu’s husband is a mechanic who also struggles to make ends meet. On most days, he walks to and from his place of work (about 20km) simply because he does not make enough money from a day’s work to take care of his family and transport himself at the same time.
We reached out to Mrs Hindatu during one of our visits to Karon-Majigi. We interacted with her and got to know about her struggles. She was really determined to rise above her current struggles and become self sufficient.
After telling us what she would be interested in doing, we got her a grinding machine and set up a stand (Nikan Hindatu).
We also gave scholarships to her children after they had completed our Emergency Education Program.
Today, Nikan Hindatu is a popular grinding spot in Karon-Majigi.
Teaching Rural Women to Save
Aham Rochas Foundation believes in the capability of our Mothers to build. It has been our belief that when you empower a woman you have empowered a nation. A Mother is committed to the growth of the family, and this is glaring and evident whenever we visit these communities.
When we visited the IDP Camp in Karon-majigi, we realized the women were skilled in one thing or the other so we had to think of a way we could help them manage the skills they had already acquired, grow their business, and increase their client base.
There were few things we realized were major problems. Chief of them was financial management and language barrier. Their businesses couldn’t grow beyond a certain level because these problems were so fundamental and vital to business so we started an English Class with the women and taught them how to save, the percentage to save, invest and spend, and generally how to handle money. We gave them each a piggy bank so they could save some money to expand their businesses.
It was a moment of exposure for a lot of them and some of them were so happy that they could brag of being knowledgeable about certain things. Most importantly, months down the line, a lot of them could boast of certain amounts they wouldn’t have had if they weren’t saving.