Celebrate Solutions: CUBS Project Empowering Women in Nigeria

By Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

Nigeria’s population of people living with HIV/AIDS accounts for about four million of a global total of 40 million, which makes it the nation with the second largest population of people living with HIV/AIDS after South Africa. As a result, many orphans have been left homeless, without any financial support for basic needs like education. With support from PEPFAR, USAID in partnership with Management Health Sciences (MHS) and Africare is implementing the Community-Based Support for OVC Project (CUBS). The project aims at improving the well-being of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in 11 Nigerian states by integrating a currently fragmented OVC service delivery system, mobilizing community support, and raising awareness of the issues and needs of OVCs.

In a period of two years after its roll out in 2012, the project has carried out OVC knowledge sharing and awareness activities to 1,049 caregivers about children’s health and emotional needs. The project has also partnered with Nigerian AIDS Intervention Organization to train women on how to start businesses, tracking their incomes and expenses and how to save regularly.In an interview with the MHS, Bridget shares a story about how the project changed the future of her family. As a widow and single mother to five children, Bridget had lost hope of providing her children with a basic education because she couldn’t afford school fees.Bridget’s manual jobs of washing laundry, cleaning neighbor’s cars, and working as a security guard were not bringing enough income to support the family, and that is why the training easily motivated her to think differently.

Mindful of her community’s needs and using her experience as a nurse, Bridget decided to open up a pharmacy. With guidance from CUBS, Bridget wrote a business plan that earned her a 40,000 naira (USD 250) start-up loan from a village savings group called Esusu to rent a building and obtain a pharmacy license. Within 12 months, Bridget had opened her pharmacy. Her business now generates enough income for her to purchase adequate food, clothing for her children and also send all five to school. With a minimum daily profit of US 19, Bridget has been able to repay 80 percent of her loan from Esusu.

Since its beginning in 2009, the CUBs USAID/PEPFAR has:

• Taught 1,049 caregivers about children’s health and emotional needs
• Provided income generating skills to 12,500 individuals in each house hold
• Improved skills and means of care givers to provide for 40,000 orphans and vulnerable children in their care

CUBS has made me realize that I can make it! The income-generating skills training I received helped me to save and plan properly for myself, my family, and business… [I’ve also learned to] build relationships with people who [can support] my vision and dreams,” said Bridget.

In preparation for the project’s conclusion in 2014, CUBS is partnering with training centers in each of the project-supported states to sustain and expand the caregiver trainings. CUBS is also working with two micro-finance banks that will continue providing loans to caregivers interested in opening or expanding small businesses.

For more information about the project, visit this link

Flickr photo via DFID


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