By Philip Yatai
The Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE) says it is building the capacities of women in social entrepreneurship and renewable energy to drive climate change solutions in Kaduna State.
The Founder and Programme Director of the NGO, Mrs Olanike Olugboji-Daramola, made this known in Kaduna on Tuesday, at a three-day Green Enterprise Development Training for 30 grassroots women.
Olugboji-Daramola explained that the capacity building was under the Nigeria COVID-19 and Climate Resilience Programme, a two-year programme funded by Women Earth Alliance (WEA), a United States-based NGO.
WEA provides leadership, strategy, and technical training for women leaders to scale their climate and environmental initiatives while connecting them to a global alliance of peers, mentors, and funders.
She said that the programme was a follow up to the NGO’s intervention between 2020 and 2021, which reached out 2,000 households with food supplies to reduce their suffering from the impact of COVID-19.
She said that the COVID-19 and Climate Resilience Programme, which began in March 2022, was designed to build the capacities of 60 women in social entrepreneurship and reusable energy within two years.
She said that the goal of the programme was to develop the capacity and improve income of women and youth groups through profitable and scalable green microenterprises as an action in finding solutions to climate issues.
She added that the second goal was to ensure that communities are better informed about women-led climate solutions.
This, according to her, will equip women with the needed information, knowledge and skills that will put them at the frontline of addressing environmental challenges and climate issues.
She said that the focus was on green enterprise development, where the women would be trained and supported to plant and grow economic trees, whose produce they can consume or sell to make money.
She added that women would also be supported to drive access to clean cooking energy with focus on the promotion of clean cookstoves – an energy efficient and environmentally friendly cookstove.
She also said that the programme would equally equip the women with the knowledge and skills to convert agricultural waste into briquette – a compressed block of combustible biomass material used for fuel.
She explained that the briquette would not only be used for cooking but can also serve as an income generation enterprise and means of livelihood in the wake of increasing prices of cooking gas.
“These three highly integrated and strategic interventions – tree planting, briquetting of agricultural waste and promotion of energy efficient cookstoves are actions that the women can take.
“This, to a very large extent, will contribute to addressing climate change issues, while the women make money from it.
“The intervention, in the long run, will help to reduce deforestation, promote afforestation, and empower women financially, thereby, strengthening their resilience to the impact of COVID-19,” she said.
Olugboji-Daramola said that the expectation at the end of the project was that 60 women would be generating profit through sale of at least 3,600 clean energy cookstoves and charcoal briquettes
She added that 3,000 native trees would have been planted in two neglected public spaces and three degraded sites by the end of the project with at least 90 per cent survival after a year of planting.
“The programme is also expected to reach 3,500 with information on women-led climate solutions through awareness campaigns,” she said.
The founder and programme director explained that the three-day training was designed to support the women on business and leadership development and development of action plan.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Ruth Yakubu, described the training as an “eye opener” on how to make money while solving environmental challenges.
Another participant, Ms Salama Ibrahim, who said that the training was mind blowing, added that it exposed her to briquette, a better alternative to firewood for cooking.
“I also learn how to grow tree seedlings and how to contribute to maintaining a clean environment to mitigate climate change through promotion of the use of clean cookstoves and production of briquettes.
“I can’t wait to share my experience with other women in my community,” she said.