According to the World Bank, of the world’s 736 million extreme poor in 2015, 368 million – half of the total – live in just 5 Countries. The 5 Countries with the highest number of extreme poor are (in descending order) India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh. They also happen to be the most populous Countries of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. This two regions account for 65% (629 million) of the world’s poor. Therefore to make significant continued progress towards the global target of reducing extreme poverty to less than 3% by 2030, large reductions in poverty in these five Countries will be crucial. However, Nigeria’s outlook is only one piece of a global poverty narrative.
As you take an abbreviated tour of the poverty landscape in Nigeria for instance, having overtaken India on June 26, 2018 as the World Poverty Capital according to the World Poverty Clock, Nigeria has more people living in extreme poverty than any other Country in the world. Many believe that up to 25 per cent of the world’s extreme poor will live in Nigeria by 2030 and Women shoulder the global burden of poverty and the persistent and increasing burden of poverty on them undermines their capabilities and leaves them inadequately prepaid to determine and improve their own lives in the future. The percentage of Women living in poor households across Nigeria stands at about 14.6% and at the moment, at the current rate, Nigeria is not only off track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the scope of issues confronting Women living in poverty are broad and comes with even more risks and challenges. In a family, Women are the first to fall into poverty, the worst hit, and the last to recover. Poverty deprives Women of vital health, education, and socio-economic opportunities throughout their lives.
According to the UN, Women are increasingly seen as an important part of the international development agenda and for development goals to be sustainable it has to achieve what Women perceive to be of their interest. No country, community, or economy can achieve its potential or meet the challenges of the 21st century without the full and equal participation of Women. This has fueled the global community’s motivation and ambition to enhance Women’s economic empowerment greater than ever before. Today, Women are stuck in low status jobs and many jobs are not sufficient to ensure that a family is above poverty. Despite the fact that majority of Women work in the home and outside in subsistence related and income generating work, they are unable to properly support their families or ensure their well-being.
A Woman must be ready to die to live now as it is becoming harder for Women to escape poverty especially in settings where they usually maintain subservient less visible roles. In most instances they have to negotiate for daily life as Women are poorer and hungrier than men across the world. There is therefore need for a combination of activities in various spheres of a Woman’s life that addresses the dynamic and relational nature of poverty to enable Women make decisions that could potentially alter the course of their lives. SHE-COOPS will provide Women with a more dignified way out of poverty often away from violence and abuse as its enterprising attempt to lift Women out of poverty through Co-operatives is phenomenal. It will benefit all Nigerian Women including the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach Women and Women at the Internally Displaced Persons Camps, refugees and migrants and people of the simplest means who are willing to build their lives through cooperation. We estimate that 30% of Nigerian Women will benefit from SHE-COOPS making it the Country’s most important social movement.
SHE-COOPS will To create a third-wave of poverty reduction,. Through SHE-COOPS Women can lead the way out of poverty, for themselves their children (families) and community. Its collective approach empowers its members, which can decrease some of the challenges faced by Women. Improving Women empowerment in Nigeria through Co-operatives are very important steps in advancing a poverty-free Country as this not only yields positive multiplier effects for households and communities but also contribute to greater social cohesion. SHE-COOPS is profoundly useful to complement the on-going plans and efforts of the Federal Government in lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years
SHE-COOPS have far reaching macro-economic implications such as poverty reduction and improve family incomes. Its contributions to people’s security, well-being and happiness including communities which they operate and influence parameters of development, economic transformation and eradication of structural inequality. It is a movement that can rapidly enhance Women’s dignity and greatly improve their quality of living and family standards. It will bring new life opportunities, greater economic independence, social connections and voice.
We aim to build together a model of society grounded on local, harmonious development, fair commercial relations, equality, trust, co-responsibility, transparency and respect. There is abundant optimism that as we unlock Women’s untapped economic potential and lay the foundation for a solidarity economy across Nigeria that can drive Women’s financial inclusion at scale while playing significant role towards building positive identity and fulfillment of self. Through SHE-COOPS we can create great support that works well for all and fits with our varied and complex modern lives. There’s only one way forward and that is to do it together.