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A pragmatic empowerment initiative called The Empowerment Network (TEN) to lift 40 million Nigerians out of poverty and return 16 million Children back to school in the next 10 years, was at the weekend launched in Lagos.
Coming under Lifted, an arm of The Isaiah Wealth Initiative (TIWI), the project had already kicked off with five of the first 100 batch of beneficiaries who received 20,000 as grants, with now very interesting story to tell while the next round of beneficiaries, 50 in number, received their grants of N50, 000 each to expand their business during the launch of TEN on Saturday in Lagos.
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Dr. Isaiah Wealth, the Visioneer of the project, explained how the initiative is being executed. According to him, volunteers embark on outreaches in impoverished areas to select qualified beneficiaries.
Explained he: “Volunteers register qualified beneficiaries on the TEN Mobile App. TEN provides the start up fund for the choice business of the beneficiary with a grant of N20,000 each. Volunteers monitor and assess the progress of beneficiaries, ensuring that each beneficiary saves N4,000 monthly for a period of 5 months. Beneficiary who successfully saves N4, 000 monthly for 5 consecutive months will receive a second grant of N30,000 from TEN for the expansion of their businesses. Beneficiaries are encouraged to save at least N6,000 per month for a period of 5 months. Beneficiary who meets the above requirement would qualify to receive N50,000 via a thrift system where they save N5,000 monthly for 12 months. Each thrift is made up of 10 persons”.
To qualify for the initial grant, the individual must be on less than a dollar a day and with five dependents two of whom are out of school. According to Dr. Wealth, TEN works through volunteers to provide properly guided skill sharpening training to beneficiaries and thereafter provide them with financial empowerment.
Stated he: “Beneficiaries are monitored closely by volunteers to ensure that they utilize the grant as intended and also makes compulsory savings before qualifying for the next round of empowerment”, Dr. Wealth said, adding that TEN is now working to provide these services to the entire unemployed labour force in Nigeria.
“This structure is intended to be perpetuated through local empowerment centres that would be established in all 774 Local Governments in Nigeria with a minimum of one empowerment centre in each local government”.
TEN, he said is now looking for Volunteer Partners, who are individuals with a passion for humanity and people empowerment and Financial Partners. Financial Partners, he explained are individuals or religious organisations with a philanthropic vision but who may not have the time and structure to achieve what has been put in place. The financial commitment is just N11,000 per head, which will be deployed in empowering Nigerians. Lift Nigeria is launching online in July 01, 2021. https://www.liftnigeria.ng/
In her address, Dr. Sharon Peters provided a list of the five beneficiaries in the first 100 batch and their success stories.
Annabel Iroro Onoriode is one of the beneficiaries from the city Benin in Edo State. She is from a family of 7 with 4 siblings. Life was on the hard side, as she was unable to secure a job even though she is a polytechnic graduate.
She greatly desired to set up a business so she can support her parents in caring for her siblings. A friend introduced her to the TEN network where she received the TEN grant and was able to set up her perfume business. From having no income at all, now she is able to save from the proceeds of the business and also support her family from her present average income of over N20,000, which is well above $1 a day.
Destiny Felix is from Aba in Abia State. Orphaned at a very little age, she has been struggling ever since to make ends meet. Despite the fact that all her four siblings depend on her, she was living below the poverty line because she had no income at all as at the time she joined The Empowerment Network (TEN). After receiving the TEN grant, she started her perfume selling business, she has now been able to live better and care for her siblings with an average monthly income of N20,000 which is above $1 a day.
Goodness Patrick fromMinna in Niger State is also another beneficiary. She is the first child in a family of 7 with 5 dependents. Her father is a Civil Servant, and her mother a full housewife. Prior to her involvement with TEN, she had an average monthly income of N5,000, which is less than a dollar day. Yet she had to support her siblings because of the low level of income in the family.
After the TEN grant, she started her POS electronic money transfer business, and now she she earns over N25,000 monthly, which is almost $2 a day, and is able to cater more for herself and her younger ones
Richard Yongube is from Abuja, and he is one of the first batch of TEN beneficiaries. He is the 4th Child in a family of Seven. Since he finished his NCE in 2016, he has been unable to further his studies, having lost his father that same year.
This situation pushed him to begin a dry cleaning business, but the unavailability of funds was a big constraint. His average monthly income at the time was N7,000, which is less than 50 Cents a day. But after he received the TEN grant, he was able to buy a washing machine for his business and now earns over N25,000 a month, which is almost $2 a day. He hopes to go back to school alongside some of his dependents with the profit from the business.
Tracy Imishaka is another TEN beneficiary from Lagos State. Tracy became unemployed during the COVID19 lockdown, and had no income at all despite the fact that she had 4 dependents to support in school. She thought about starting a small-scale business for months but had no capital, until she heard about TEN. After TEN intervened, she started her perfume oil business with the grant she received. That business is now growing. From nothing, she now earns an average of N25,000 a month, that is approximately $2 a day.
In his remarks, Barrister Freda Utake explained that the TEN initiative gives the opportunity to privileged and well-meaning Nigerians at home and abroad to play their role in alleviating poverty in Nigeria, by contributing meaningfully to the living condition of the less privileged in the country, in a safe, secured and transparent manner.
He pointed out that LIFTED, one of the NGOs under TIWI, is tapping into the social media because of its power as an instrument for alleviating poverty in Nigeria. He described LIFT NIGERIA(LiftNigeria.ng) as a web platform setup by LIFTED to give privileged and well-meaning Nigerians at home and abroad the opportunity to access, connect with and provide direct support to less privileged Nigerians.
The website is structured to allow intending beneficiaries to register and signify the nature of the support and empowerment that they require. He said there are four major components of the website, Partnership, Scholarship, Mentorship and Sponsorship.
“As part of our registration procedure, intending beneficiaries would be required to setup a profile and provide adequate information about the cause they seek support for. Also, the platform allows Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to register on the site as BENEFACTORS, where they can search the website for a cause they intend to support (e.g. through Sponsorship, Partnership, Mentorship or Scholarship).
“Benefactors can request verification for a beneficiary they are interested in, so that LIFTED can carry out a proper background check on the person and the cause they have presented on the website. And when such verification has been completed, the benefactor may decide to open communication with the beneficiary directly on the website or choose to take their communication with the beneficiary beyond the site e.g. through social media, phone calls, etc”, Utake said.
In his own speech, Chairman Joint Church Action(JCA), Bishop Wesley Arije noted that for some time there has been a misleading narratives about the church especially in the social media about the church in Nigeria enriching itself at the expense of the society.
According to him, why the assumption is fuelled by poverty in the system, unless something is done the church may lose the next generation who are presently being fed with the wrong narrative and miss out in the opportunity to reach out to the lost in poverty stricken areas hence the JCA was set up to facilitate a collaboration of churches in Nigeria acting as one to contribute their part towards the alleviation of poverty in Nigeria.
According to him, apart from helping TEN to achieve its stated objective, JCA will give the church good publicity and image and correct the prevalent erroneous mindset of many who believe that the church is indifferent to the plight of the populace and that JCA will among others foster unity among the churches in Nigeria.
The very electric musical band from BETHESDA Home for the Blind provided entertainment during the ceremony with resounding applause.li