The Growth and Employment in States (GEMS4) programme, seeking to improve income and employment opportunities within Nigeria’s wholesale and retail sector, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable, has Thursday held strengths based approaches stakeholder learning workshop in Kano
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GEMS4, which being implemented by Coffey International Development is supported by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMTI) and funded by the World Bank and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). The event was part of series of closeout events held to showcase GEMS4’s initiatives aimed at empowering people at the grassroots and had in attendance stakeholders from Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa respectively.
“The workshop is aimed at putting out to people what have been achieved, the tools and strategies we have used and discuss with relevant government entities how the achievements can be sustained without necessarily waiting for other programmes to come in,” says Brian Nugent, a senior consultant at GEMS4.
The workshop specifically dwelled on the successes achieved by GEMS4’s Asset Based Community Development project implemented across 12 pilot Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Kano state over a period of 3 months which led to engagements with thousands of people and the formation of 57 new associations as well as the revival of 55 dormant ones engaged in both commercial and social activities.
“In the last 3 months we have implemented an asset based community development program, we encouraged people to work as community builders and facilitators and they went around communities showing them the kind of assets they have,” says Sheriff Mohammed, GEMS4’’s group intervention manager.
GEMS4’s Asset Based Community Development project has successfully linked 657 people to financial institutions and 218 have already accessed funding from those institutions. Similarly 15 cooperatives were empowered 297 members with loans at very low interest rates across the 12 LGAs.
In his remark during the event, the deputy governor of Jigawa, Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia, commended the efforts of GEMS4 and also urged the communities engaged by the programme to ensure sustainability even after the exit of the donors.