Information, The Best Tool For Women Empowerment
Abibat had a perfect business idea – producing and packaging local beverages like zobo (hibiscus juice) kunu (corn milk) and other nutritious drinks.
She had mastered the art of making the drinks, and the processes involved in keeping it hygienic, but she just could not take off.
She had no idea how and where to have her bottle covers sealed. She walked the length and breadth of Oshodi and Lagos Island, but no one was able to help her.
Then she attended an event - Women of Excellence Business Talk (WEBTalk) - put together by three working women for their fellow women.
Among the attendees was a young lady who had all the information Abibat needed. She solved all the hows and wheres she had been battling with.
Today, she has taken off with her business and she is doing fine. That is the power of information for empowerment.
Information sharing is the major tool being deployed by the trio of Abimbola Jubrilla, Folasade Lasisi and Sumbo Okunowo, the co-founders of Neighbourhood Sales.
Their organisation was set up with a vision to help women develop their entrepreneurial skills to contribute to the economy of their homes, communities and Nigeria at large.
After all, all three of them combine those challenging roles of being wives, mothers and entrepreneurs as well. They believe other women can do it too.
How they do it, however, is one area that no single rule works for as no two homes are the same. Folasade was quick to credit it to some divine help from God.
But you do not expect that God would come down from heaven to help you while you sip soda on your couch, do you?
That is the meeting point for your efforts and their intervention which they explained in a chat with Bounce News.
“Basically, we encourage women to go more into entrepreneurship. So, we help by bringing sellers very close to their buyers.
“Every woman has to do one thing, there is always something you can do irrespective of what you think of yourself. No matter how little, these things will bring money to you.
“On the long run, our strategy empowers women around us who are willing to do something to also make something back,” Abimbola said.
So, unlike the usual training seminars where they just teach you skills like soap making, this group of women do not just train you, they also hook you up with business and follow up with you.
Abibat’s zobo business is one of their successes stories and a practical example of how they go about their mission.
Another testimony is a lady named Tope who had goods to sell on Jumia but never knew how to go about becoming an e-commerce merchant.
Luckily for her, one of the founders, Folasade is into the same business of online trading and she was available to put her through all the processes with which she kicked off her business.
Folasade highlighted how information plays a key role in their mission. For her it is important for women to support other women.
“Nowadays, people do not even know what their neighbours do. You stay in the same compound and never talk about what you do.
“I might be selling shoes and bags but how would you know what I do when we don’t relate at all? My neighbour should be able to patronise me instead of going far for same commodities,” she said.
Irrespective of social status, their annual event tagged WEBTalk aims to do this, and it continues to produce success stories that keep them encouraged.
The last edition was themed ‘Love, Business and Brunch’ and it is expected to hold again in February 2019.
Moving forward, they look forward to a time when they would be able to give soft loans to women to start up their business.
“Helping women should not stop at empowering them with skills and linking them with their potential market, women also need money,” Abimbola said.
“Owo ni koko,” everyone chorused in Yoruba.