For three months Emmanuel Kpochi (YES 2012-13, hosted by AYA in Fruitland Park, FL) led an empowerment project for local women in the rural Nyambee community of North Bank, Nigeria.
“My hope for this project is that it makes a permanent impact on at least 50% of the participants. If the project goal, which is to create an income channel for these ladies, is successful, I would be most happy,” said Kpochi. “It was fun, the smiles and the joy you get to see in these people.”
The goal of the project was to develop women's entrepreneurship skills and help them gain knowledge to significantly improve their lives and the lives of their children and communities. In many rural African villages, the women oversee the amount of food readily available to the family, often without any assistance from the man of the house. The community in which the women’s entrepreneurship project took place survives mostly on subsistence farming.
The women were taught entrepreneurship through demonstrations led by members of the YES Alumni Association Nigeria. They were taught how to make liquid soap, shampoo and petroleum jelly with the goal of selling the products to earn an income that could support their families and their children’s schooling.
The project began in March and over the course of three months, participants were educated in three groups of 20 for a total of 60 participants. The empowerment project was sponsored by the United States embassy through their mission grant program. This project was developed specifically as a grassroots program.
The project faced several challenges from differences in rural dialects, to participants different understandings of timeliness, to issues with transportation between rural areas. However, after the three-month project concluded, Kpochi said, “Even though there were challenges, it was amazing! The challenges made us more determined to see the project through.”