The Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE), an NGO, has educated women in Kaduna on financial literacy and leveraging on climate challenges to boost green entrepreneurship.
At a one-day symposium on financial literacy on Saturday in Kaduna, the Executive Director of WISE, Mrs Olanike Olugboji-Daramola, said a lot of things making up the economy is gotten from the environment.
The theme of the symposium was: “Boosting green entrepreneurship and sustainable livelihood for women and girls.”
Olugboji-Daramola lamented that over the years, man had abused the use of natural resources, thereby not moving in harmony with nature, while noting that current trends related to climate change had taken a toll.
“When COVID-19 came, a lot of people lost their means of livelihood and now with the climate change; when you look at people in agriculture and its value chain, they are also losing,” she said.
She, therefore, said the symposium was aimed at building women’s resilience, stressing that they were the most affected yet being under-reported.
The executive director said on that premise, WISE partnered with financial institutions to ensure women moved on track by not thinking of businesses, but ensuring savings and investments that they could fall back on in unwanted situations. “When women make money, they are only thinking about putting food on the table and buying clothes. However important they may be, they should also think of something to fall back on.
“We want women to imbibe the culture of saving and investment in the face of climate change,” she said.
Olugboji-Daramola therefore said there were a lot of opportunities in the renewable energy sector which could be tapped amidst climate challenges.
She noted the high cost of cooking gas and electricity, adding that it presented an opportunity for people, especially women, to carve something out from the value chain.
“One could sell solar lamps or energy efficient cooking stoves. One can be an entrepreneur in that line by either selling or manufacturing. You can key into the value chain of any sector that provides a solution to the climate crisis,” she said.
She called on women to key into the value chain of renewable energy, noting that it was the future.
“When you pick any green skill, whether in agriculture, to become a climate smart farmer who is already resilient to some of the shocks that climate challenges are presenting, you will be in a better position to survive the odds,” Olugboji-Daramola said.
Also educating the women, Mrs Ruth Ayuba, a Financial Consultant, advised the women to avoid being idle without engaging in any menial legitimate business.
She frowned at women who always depended on their husbands for everything in the household, noting that a lot of things changed in the advent of COVID-19.
“Women need to be supportive of their husbands and children; you can secure a loan to start a business that is within your capacity to pay back and sustain the profit to grow the business for a long term,” Ayuba said.
Similarly, Ms Ladi Musa, a Sales Representative from Atmosfair, a German based non-profit organisation, encouraged women to imbibe saving culture.
She said doing so while in business would enable them to manage financial crises that could come their way.
On her part, Mrs Elizabeth Awan, a worker at NSIA Insurance Company, advised the women on having an insurance policy.
The company had a special alternative plan for women, adding that ordinarily women in business needed to have the plan in case of unwanted situations.
“At NSIA, we do the plan for women, all they need to do is buy the policy and in the event of loss, we take care of it. A lot of women lose their business due to incidents like fire outbreaks and the likes,” she said.
Awan therefore urged women to key into insurance for the safety and continuity of the businesses in the advent of unwanted situations.
Also, Mr Olagoke Olaiya, the Head of Business Development and Management of Microvis Microfinance Bank, said women must ensure self-discipline to move forward with their businesses.
Olaiya advised women in business to have a budget of what they would spend monthly, not to end up overspending.
He added that to ensure sustainability, women in business must make a profile of their profits and losses.
For women who want to start business, Olaiya advised them to engage in sales of consumables like food, and rendering services like laundry and cooking for occasions, noting that people must always eat in as much as they need to survive.
The symposium, supported by Atmosfair, and Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA), was launched under the WISE COVID and climate resilient programme, targeting 5,000 women.
High point of the event was the award session to women who had the best campaign photo on ‘Hugging a tree’ campaign.