The majority of Nigeria’s women live and work in the country’s rural regions, yet compared with their peers in urban regions, they receive far less attention. While most women face many constraints that limit them to succeed, the struggle is fiercer for rural women in Northern Nigeria.
In a bid to alleviate the socioeconomic constraints faced by Northern women involved in agribusiness, TechnoServe, an international non-governmental organization that provides business solutions to poverty, is implementing the Business Women Connect (BWC) project in Northern Nigeria with funding from the ExxonMobil Foundation, the primary philanthropic arm of the ExxonMobil Corporation, which focuses on supporting education and promoting women as catalysts for economic development.
BWC aims to increase the economic opportunities of Northern women in agribusiness. Since the first phase of the project in 2017, BWC has taken on an integrated approach to help increase economic opportunity for over 3,000 women engaged in tomato and rice production as well as rice and groundnut processing in Kano, Katsina, and Jigawa States. The initiative engages women in groups for trainings, and helps them access credit from agricultural technology companies as well cost-share models to finance the women’s access to agro-processing equipment.
Thus far, over 800 women in Kano and Jigawa States have accessed 200ha of land and received loans worth over N15 million for agricultural production. These women have improved their savings and investment skills and accessed new markets, all while increasing their knowledge on improved agronomic and agro-processing practices.
With greater support from key stakeholders, TechnoServe Nigeria and ExxonMobil Foundation hope to expand the reach and impact of subsequent Fora in the interest of women and the socio-economic development of Nigeria’s rural regions.