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Over 10, 000 Kastina, Zamfara rural women rescued out of poverty

…N28 billion microfinance loan disbursed to 12 states
By Gabriel Ewepu GUSAU –
As Government reiterates its commitment to ensure rural people have financial inclusion, over 10, 000 Kastina and Zamfara States rural women in the past six years have been rescued out of poverty through the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme, RUFIN.
This was disclosed by the Deputy National Coordinator, RUFIN, Mrs. Ufaruna Unekwu, during a media tour and assessment of the programme in Kastina and Zamfara, where she also stated that N28 billion microfinance loan have been disbursed to the 12 participating states under the programme, while N15 billion have been saved by various women groups trained on financial discipline and investment.
Unekwu said the programme has proven that rural people, particularly women can be faithful in loan repayment, which according to her has been between 95 to 100 per cent, which has been lauded by the microfinance institutions that disburse the loan.
She said:
    "The programme started in 2010, and the issue while rural people remains poor in Nigeria is lack of access to finance,
    and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, thought it wise to design a programme to help the rural poor to have access to financial services
    so that it improves their agricultural production and productivity, and micro enterprises.
    That was the rationale RUFIN was established."
    "The theory of change is that if you can strengthen the microfinance institutions and linked them to the rural people,
    and improve the capital base of the microfinance institutions they will lend more credits to the rural poor and the poor will come out of poverty."
     "As of today the programme has been able to facilitate credits to the rural poor of more than N28 billion in the 12 participating states.
    For savings mobilisation the programme has been able to facilitate mobilisation of N15 billion for the poor in the rural area."
    "Before it was believed that the rural poor can’t save but that is not true,
    since we trained them on saving culture they have demonstrated their ability on savings, financial literacy, investment and repayment of loan."
In sharing their success story with the media team at Zamfara and Kastina States one of the women groups in Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Tallafi Mata Masu Dubara, the chairperson, Hajia Suwaiba Aliyu, said the group has over 9, 500 members, and have all come out of poverty through financial inclusion via access to microfinance institutions.
Aliyu said,
    "We are over 9, 500 members in this group. The success story of the group is enormous because after our training by RUFIN,
    which also linked us with microfinance institutions to access loans by our members had made us to individually expand our businesses,
    and also as a group. We are into livestock business, groundnut production and processing, millet, sorghum, cassava, rice and maize farming.
    There other businesses other than agribusiness we do as well."
According to one of the members of the Gangare Multipurpose Group in Dutsinma Local Government Area of Kastina State, Aisha Bishir, who spoke in Hausa said, she was a petty trader selling groundnut oil, but after her training under the programme her living condition positively changed.
    "After I became a member of the Gangare Multipurpose Group,
    I was trained on how to come out of poverty and also improve on my groundnut oil business, which I was linked with some microfinance banks.
    After accessing loans from them for about nine circles I have successfully stepped out of poverty with my family."
    "This is because I am into big time textile business. I use the profit to build our family house, sponsor my children’s school expenses and we eat well also", Bishir said.



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