Abuja Enterprise Agency empowers 163 rural women, disburses grants
The Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA), in partnership with Betterlife Programme for African Rural Woman (BLPARW), has trained 163 women through the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Rural Skills Acquisition and Sensitisation Initiative (RuSASI).
The training was conducted from June 21 to July 15 across four area councils of the FCT.
Speaking at the weekend during an event in Abuja to distribute packs to beneficiaries, AEA acting Managing Director, Shehu Abdulkadir, said the agency also disbursed start up grants to participants.
According to Abdulkadir, the initiative was part of the agency’s strategy for achieving its mandate to empower women and youths in the FCT by supporting the growth of rural enterprise.
He maintained that the initiative was conceived during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to build the capacity of rural communities for producing basic sanitary items such as sanitisers, liquid soaps and antiseptics as a means of curbing the virus, while helping the beneficiaries become economically self-reliant.
He said the agency has fine-tuned and upgraded the initiative by expanding the curriculum of the programme to keep to current trends and deepen impact.
He disclosed: “The second edition of RuSASI has facilitated the acquisition of skills in sectors such as confectionary, disinfectants, organic fertilisers and others. We also built their entrepreneurial skills in areas such as bookkeeping and saving culture, customer relationship, business planning, marketing and sales among other modules, so that they can effectively start and manage their business.
“163 women and youths were trained in a period of four weeks across four Abuja Municipal Area Councils (Kwali, Kuje and Abaji) to enhance their capacity to initiate and sustain their business ventures. We will support trainees with starter packs and operational grants.”
On her part, BLPARW Chairperson, Hajiya Aisha Babangida, said the programme has successfully set up over 300,000 cottage industries, farms and gardens, shops and markets, women development centres and social programmes touching every state in Nigeria.
Babangida maintained that the programme has also advocated and promoted adult literacy initiatives, primary health care, agriculture, crafts and food processing.
She urged all participants to make the best use of the opportunity, noting that monitoring and evaluation would be conducted to determine participants who would judiciously use the starter packs.
This, she said, would serve as a basis to provide post-training support to facilitate the scale up of their businesses.
It is crucial to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in urban and rural settings, she explained, adding that it promotes the advancement of cottage industry. She also called for increased support for female entrepreneurs, rural community development and investment in the entrepreneurship value chain development.
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