The Aliko Dangote Foundation has reiterated its readiness to empower thousands of Nigerian women through its micro grant programme aimed at ameliorating widespread poverty in the nation and appropriately empowering both women and youths.
The fund disbursement is meant to enable recipients to meet immediate family and livelihood needs by providing a one-time grant to start up enterprises that will boost their economic and consumption activities and help reduce their vulnerability.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation recently flagged off its one-off and unconditional micro-grants programme in Niger State with 25,000 disadvantaged women as beneficiaries bringing the total number of women beneficiaries to 256,500 across seven states of the federation.
Women constitute a vital social group in all known human societies. Apart from playing a very significant role in the continuity of society through reproduction and socialization, their economic, social and political roles cannot be overemphasized. Yet, this vital group has been mitigated with very harrowing challenges in their various respective societies.
In Nigeria where the level and rate of poverty have skyrocketed over the years, women continue to face daunting and debilitating challenges. Effort to give women a better deal has always been on the front burner. Generally, the Nigerian woman is untiringly industrious and strives as hard as the man. Sadly, she is rarely acknowledged as a significant contributor to society’s sustenance. It has, therefore, become essential to give much thought and attention to the state of women in the country, especially considering the present socio- economic realities.
The chairman of the Foundation, Aliko Dangote at the inauguration of the foundation’s “one-off and unconditional micro-grants” programme held in Minna, Niger State, said the scheme targets 25,000 disadvantaged and vulnerable women in Niger State, who will each be given N10, 000 cash to boost their household income generation.
He said his foundation had earmarked N10bn for the empowerment of vulnerable women in the 774 local government areas of the country.
Dangote said that he wants to become the biggest philanthropist in Africa, asides being the continent’s richest man. He said the motivation gave birth to Aliko Dangote Foundation, on whose platform a total of N2.5 billion had been disbursed to 256,500 women across Kano, Lagos, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
According to him, I do not only want to be known as Africa’s richest man but the biggest philanthropist. I will continue to use my resources and my voice to help shape a better Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.
The Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, speaking at the event appreciated the gesture of Dangote for touching the lives of ordinary Nigerians, especially vulnerable women.
Governor Bello extolled the Aliko Dangote Foundation for the generosity extended to poor women in his state and urged them to use it to start small businesses so the Foundation would be pleased to do more.
He praised the public spirit of Alhaji Dangote and urged other well-meaning Nigerians to emulate such a good gesture to impact the society.
The executive director of the Foundation, Hajiya Halima Aliko Dangote, said the Foundation was poised to help lift the status of womanhood in the country, adding “If you empower a woman, you empower the whole nation.”
She stated that women have always bear the brunt of the harsh economic reality in the country and the Aliko Dangote Foundation reasoned that they should be the target of such critical intervention as the disbursement with the hope that the benefits will cascade down the family line with women as the maker of the home and improve the family wellbeing.
Managing director of the Foundation, Zouera Yussouffou said the micro grant scheme was part of the four cardinal crust of the Foundation which are Health and Nutrition, Education, Economic Empowerment and Disaster Relief.
She stated that the Foundation has been delivering its core mandate across the four cardinal trusts in a strategic manner that ensures its objectives clearly marked out are fully achieved
Giving a breakdown of how the beneficiaries were selected, the Representative of the office of the Secretary to the State Government, Ms. Ruth Isa said five women were selected from each polling units in Niger State, adding that the beneficiaries cut across socio-political and religious groups to ensure even spread.
Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Ahmed Marafa commended Aliko Dangote and urged the beneficiaries to use the grants to transform their lives.
Responding, one of the beneficiaries, Rabi Ibrahim, said the grant will enable her to start trading in clothing, soap and perfume. She prayed God to continue to bless the family of Aliko Dangote and his Group.
Another beneficiary, Aisha Haruna from Bosso Local Government said she was highly elated and that she almost couldn’t believe it, just as she added that she will use the money to boost her trading in charcoal and other petty trading.
She said certainly, the Dangote Foundation has done a lot to uplift the standard of women in the country. If current plans, policies and programmes are sustained, and the funds disbursed are well utilized, the future, no doubt, looks bright for women in the country.
The Foundation recently changed its name to Aliko Dangote Foundation with a new brand logo. The Dangote Foundation which was set up in 1994 is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Dangote Group with a vision to see a world where all people have access to a better life. The Foundation is also an established institution supporting social and economic change through investments and interventions that improve the lives of the less fortunate.
The Foundation defines its strategic focus areas, in Health it tends to minimize disease burden through improved access to quality healthcare and nutrition with a particular emphasis on children. Under Education, the Foundation seeks to improved access to quality education for talented young people to achieve their potential, for Economic Empowerment, to support the poor and enterprising to sustainably increase their income generation capacities, while under Disaster Relief, the Foundation also responsive to people affected by disasters in helping them get back on their feet.
The Foundation is proud to launch a new logo and name, which is aimed at making an Africa whose people are healthier, better educated and empowered. It also illustrate a shift towards Africans helping Africans and sometimes Africans helping the world.
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