Studies show that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healtheir, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase.
It is against this background that Dangote Foundation, a multi-purpose vehicle; through which the Dangote Group carries out its corporate social service, two years ago, designed a micro-grant programme, programme, in conjunction with state governments, to assist vulnerable women across the 774 local governments of the country. The grant, disbursed in Kano to the tune of N1.04 billion and Jigawa N270 million, is meant to lift the women and reduce poverty at the grassroots.
Dangote Dangote Last week, it was the turn of Kogi State women to benefit under the scheme. The event began with a special session of the State Executive Council, EXCO, during which Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the president of the Dangote Group, was appointed an honourary member because of his contributions to the economy of the state through his vast investment in cement and the plan to establish a sugar refinery. Dangote was formally introduced by Governor Idris Wada as a member of the EXCO and got a certificate of membership at the Council; Chamber. He recalled Dangote’s intervention during the deadly flooding last year which swept across the state. The governor then announced that the state was offering Dangote 20,000 hectares of land to establish the sugar refinery.
Dangote thanked the Kogi government for the honour and promised to attend the EXCO meeting at least once a month to make his contributions to the ideas and efforts at taking the state to the next level. He said he had always believed that one of the surest ways of alleviating poverty is through job creation and that the kind of jobs that the masses in Nigeria need could be created through agriculture. When companies are established; he said, jobs would be created but not on a large scale because the machines are automated and would only require few hands but in agriculture the opportunities are massive. He said that was the reason he is investing in sugar plantation and refinery where thousands of people can work and earn a living.
At the disbursement of the grants held at the Government House, Lokoja, Dangote said the grants would go round women in all the 774 local governments in the country. The Foundation, he stated, believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to ending hunger and poverty. The Foundation, he explained, thought of a response to the widespread poverty in Nigeria, in 2011, and instituted the cash transfer intervention – the Dangote Micro-Grant Programme – to provide cash transfers to select poor and vulnerable women and youths.
The grant is to enable beneficiaries meet immediate family and livelihood needs by providing a one-time fund to start up enterprises that will boost their economic and consumption activities and help reduce their vulnerability.