Nigeria. "With UNDP and COOPI, fortune has graced me", smiles Hauwa
03-05-2024 | di COOPI

Nigeria. "With UNDP and COOPI, fortune has graced me", smiles Hauwa

Hauwa Garba Yahaya, originally from Kukuri, Nigeria, discovered Village Savings and Credit Associations through the “A fast track to early and sustainable recovery for conflict-affected communities in northeast Nigeria,” project, implemented by COOPI-International Cooperation on funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The project enabled 235 women like Hauwa to undergo training in entrepreneurship and financial management; and 154 others to access and repay their loans, giving their businesses a significant boost. “Today I am a testimony to the power of opportunity,” she tells us.

How did your story of change begin?

A few months ago, our community experienced a transformative event: the UNDP initiated a livestock intervention. Fortune smiled upon me when I received two ruminants to raise, which marked the beginning of my journey to self-sufficiency”

What were the challenges you faced in the beginning?

Although receiving the ruminants was really a stroke of luck, making sure they were fed properly posed a challenge. Due to limited resources, I had to resort to grazing outside the city, which turned out to be a blessing as they multiplied over time”

How did you decide to venture into your current business?

As the livestock multiplied, I decided to sell one of the ruminants at the market and used the proceeds to start a business selling charcoal, initially with one bag. I made this decision to ensure a livelihood for my family”

How did COOPI help you?

When I learned about a COOPI awareness campaign on Village Savings and Credit Associations, I immediately recognized its value and decided to join one of the savings groups. Through this intervention, I received training on saving, lending, and financial literacy, which emphasized the importance of having savings and helped me understand how to manage my resources. After saving diligently for four months, I took out a loan equal to three times my savings to increase my coal business, and increased it to six bags of coal”

What are your aspirations for the future?

Today I am a testimony to the power of opportunity. My business thrives, and as for the future, I aspire to further expand my business. I express my sincerest gratitude to COOPI and UNDP for creating this path to self-sufficiency: it has not only improved our business but also enabled us to be self-sufficient"

In expressing my thanks, I know I speak for the entire community. Together, we celebrate progress, resilience, and the promise of a brighter future"

During its 5-month duration (November 2023 to March 2024), the project provided new economic and livelihood opportunities for the community, promoted social cohesion, and helped prevent forms of gender-based abuse and violence.

A total of 325 people, most of them being women - 235 in total - from existing and newly formed groups, were trained in the methodology and approach of Village Savings and Credit Associations. This comprehensive training included entrepreneurship, business skills, financial literacy-which included savings and loan management-and guidance on linking Savings and Credit groups with financial institutions in the local government areas of Potiskum and Nangere.

The post-training results were promising: 13 members of the Savings and Credit group collectively raised 843,340 Nigerian nairas in shared income. In addition, 204 people (154 females and 50 males) accessed loans and successfully repaid them, giving a significant boost to their businesses.

COOPI has been present in Yobe State in Nigeria since 2019 and has since been implementing multi-sectoral food security and livelihood projects that complement the peacebuilding program. These programs aim to improve the economic status of households through livelihood activities such as the introduction and strengthening of Community Savings and Credit Associations.