Ayo Alonge, Lagos
As part of its goal to reach indigent womenfolk, especially widows, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Tosin Quota International Foundation (TQIF), has empowered some widows in Lagos.
Daily Sun gathered that the Founder of the NGO, Tosin Olayiwola, and her team, did a random selection of prospective beneficiaries, with the aim of starting up small businesses for them.
Speaking with our correspondent, Olayiwola said: “In commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the foundation, TQIF decided to empower several women by starting for them small scale businesses of their choices. The women empowered were not only going through hard times but their children were also made to do the unthinkable just for them to live day today. And with the sexual molestations going on in the society right now, our fears were peaked thinking about what and who they could fall prey to.”
Olayiwola explained that she started the foundation with the aim of empowering dejected widows in Ekiti, State, before extending the scope to other parts of the country.
“In our experience as an NGO, we have come to realise that empowerment by giving out cash is almost the same thing as not empowering them at all because we noticed that even before the money gets to them, they already have a thing or two they will spend the money on. This is why we decided against giving out cash.
“Before an empowerment programme, we handpick these women based on how dire their situations are. And once they are picked, we interview them. We ask what business they like to go into and take them to the market big enough to get all the necessary products that they want to sell. We get them those things, get them stalls, if it’s needed, and have them set up.
“We do not only set them up, but we also monitor the progress of their businesses. We have partnered with a renowned microfinance bank in Lagos where we open microfinance accounts for the widows. This will enable accountability so that the businesses do not run down, and even enable them to get a loan from the bank should they need to.
“For TQIF, small businesses of such nature must enjoy an insurance cover that would cater for any unforeseen loss, should there be an economic crisis.”