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This study examines the role of non-governmental organization in tackling poverty through women economic empowerment with particular reference to Women Farmers Advancement Network of Nigeria (WOFAN). A sample of 291 women was drawn from the beneficiaries of (WOFAN) in Kano state. Cluster sampling was used to determine the sample size from each local government selected from the three senatorial districts. The data was analyzed to test the three propositions of the study using descriptive statistics. The findings of the study revealed that, poverty is one of the prominent factors that hinders women participation in economic activities though NGOs impact significantly promote economic empowerment among women in the study area. Thus, based on the study recommends that, WOFAN and other NGOs should prioritized empowerment of women in rural areas rather than urban areas and there is need to strengthen the implementation strategies of WOFAN and other NGOs, should collaborate with government in organizing in-house workshop, seminars to train and retain their staff on how to handle their beneficiaries and should provide market where beneficiaries of WOFAN can sell their agricultural products and other facilities to enhance the smooth practicability of various entrepreneurial skills learnt by women under the auspices WOFAN.
Keywords: Women, NGOs, Economic Empowerment, Poverty.
1.1 Background to the Study
Nigeria is a country of paradox with widespread poverty in the midst of plenty. The long
years of military rule and poor politics combined with rent-seeking culture have left the
country with high levels of poverty and low access to social services. Nigeria is the
largest oil producer in Africa and the seventh largest in the world, yet the majority of its
citizens are poor. Nigeria is a mono-cultural economy with crude oil contributing 99
percent of export revenues, 78 percent of government-revenues and 38.8 percent of GDP
(MGDs, 2014). It is also important to note that there are disparities in poverty between
males and females. According to the UNDP report, in 1996, the literary rate for males
was 62 percent and 39 percent for female; the corresponding figures for 1997 were 61
percent and 47 percent respectively, and 61 percent and 46 percent respectively in 1998
Years of economic mismanagement have transformed Nigeria to the ranks of one of the
poorest countries of the world with a performance of 136 out of 162 nations in the
Human Development Index and 50 out of 90 development countries in the Human
Poverty Index (UNDP, 2001). Efforts to revive the economy through policy reforms and
adjustment programmes have recorded moderate successes while the economic
conditions remain rather unsatisfactory. The social scourge of poverty and joblessness are
widespread and the incidence is increasing its negative impact on the economy and
quality of life of the people. Unemployment is on the increase with attendant disaffection
and restlessness among the youths, including women, who are faced with reduced job
opportunities and idleness hence the need for empowering women (Egwuatu, 2002).
Promoting gender equality and empowering women is critical for sustainable economic
growth. Women’s empowerment is creating opportunities that would enable women to
have greater choice and control over decisions that affect them. Empowering women
invariably creates opportunities through greater participation, knowledge, personal
security and economic independence, leading to reduction in poverty, hunger and
inequality (MDGs, 2014).
Women economic empowerment is a prerequisite for economic development and proper
growth. Achieving women economic empowerment requires sound public policies, a
holistic approach and long-term commitment and gender specific perspective must be
integrated at the design stage of policy and programming. Women must have more
equitable access to services; infrastructure programmes should be designed to benefit the
poor, both men and women and employment opportunities must be improved while
increasing recognition of women’s vast unpaid work. Innovative approaches and
partnerships include increased dialogue among development actors, improved
coordination amongst donors and support for women organising at the national and
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