“In Africa, especially Nigeria, women make better grassroots entrepreneurs. They also have deeper impacts in their communities.
We founded our micro-finance bank to lend to our local people- men took the money and married new wives, women repaid 90% of the time.
We started the Ecossentials programme, converting waste to products, and it became profitable. 95% of the participants were women.
In fact, the women were making so much money, most are now the breadwinners of their families, sending their children to good schools.
From this experience & data, when we started distributing improve seeds to IDPs to start farms, we decided to put special focus on the women.
Our loan programme managers found out that when the men got their loans, the whole village heard. Women just quietly about their business.
So I said, “Why don’t we train the men to be more secretive when they received the loan?”
Our managers laughed but started the training.
They told the men, don’t tell anyone that you’re getting this loan. Did it work? 7/11 men in that training married new wives immediately!
After years of experience and data, our grassroots lending strategy has completely evolved. We know who to lend to. Guess who it is? #smile
I hope the men don’t think I’m abusing them. I was just sharing our experience in grassroots lending. #smile”
Atiku Abubakar is the former Vice-President of Nigeria, a business-man and philanthropist. He wrote this article in a series of tweets which he made from his twitter account @Atiku.
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