The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) has flagged off a programme to empower 774,000 women from each of Nigeria’s 774 local government areas.
The sum of N10 billion has been voted for the empowerment programme by the Foundation Chairman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and least 1,000 women from each council will benefit.
As part of the nationwide programme, the Foundation on Wednesday launched a scheme to empower 23,990 women in the 23 local government areas of Sokoto State.
So far, N3.345 billion has been disbursed to 334,500 women across Kano, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Lagos, Niger and Nasarawa states.
At the Sokoto launch were Governor Aminu Tambuwal, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, (represented by the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammad Mera), among other dignitaries.
Dangote said: “In Sokoto, we are empowering 23,990 women, including those in the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Rabah local goverment area. 1,000 vulnerable women were selected in each of your 23 local government areas.
“However, due to the displacement of the community in Rabah, we have also included all eligible women in the IDP camp, totalling 1,990 for Rabah council.”
Dangote said the micro-grants programme was a component of his foundation’s economic empowerment pillar.
“We will provide the 23,990 vulnerable women identified by your selection committee, with a one-off, unconditional N10,000.00 cash grant to boost their household income. This, we believe, will help reduce their vulnerability and meet their livelihood needs.
“This N10 billion programme was launched in 2012 and is being systemically rolled out nationwide to reach 1,000 vulnerable women in each of our 774 local goverment areas in Nigeria,” Dangote said.
According to him, the programme aims to complement the state governments’ efforts in their economic empowerment and poverty reduction drive.
He said: “Since inception, 334,500 women, representing over 40 per cent of our target beneficiaries have benefitted from the programme (across Kano, Lagos, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Niger and Nasarawa states).
“In the coming weeks, we will be proceeding to Katsina and then Kebbi and Zamfara to conduct a similar program. By the time we are done with these states this year, we will be 55 per cent done.
“To ensure inclusivity, the programme is implemented in partnership with the respective state governments.
“We are partnering Access Bank to open bank accounts for all the beneficiaries and issue them with customised debit cards that will be loaded with N10,000.”
Dangote restated his commitment to providing support to the most vulnerable and deserving Nigerians.
“I will continue to use my resources and my voice to help shape a better Nigeria, and Africa as a whole,” he said.
Tambuwal thanked Dangote for his collaboration in Zakat (an Islamic obligation to donate to charitable causes), economic empowerment and the fight against polio.
The governor praised Dangote for increasing support to the Zakat Commission.
At the event were ADF Executive Director Halima Aliko Dangote, Dangote Industries Limited Group Executive Director, Government and Strategic Relations Ahmed Mansur; ADF Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Mrs Zouera Youssoufou, and the wife of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Erelu Angela Adebayo, among others.
Among the beneficiaries were: a provisions seller Ramatu Isiaka (41), a soft drinks seller Lateefat Bello (30), and 30-year-old Sadiat Aminu, who fries soya-bean cakes.
They were full of appreciation to Dangote and the Foundation for the financial support through the scheme. They pledged to make good use of the grant.