Because mothers are the primary caregivers for their families, special projects are organized to assist them. These include literacy and numeracy training, provision of inputs for livestock and crop farming, small-scale loan scheme, paralegal system, and training in various capacity building exercises such as negotiation skills, management of finances, budgeting, advocacy, human rights, etc.
Women are known to be the heart of the home, but at times the working of the heart can be taken for granted. In order to support the women in the rural communities, HVCF has a series of programmes to assist them. A basic one is literacy, learning to read and write in Hausa. This is often accompanied by numeracy, assisting the women with simple mathematical skills. Each year there is a Literacy Day for them to display their skills.
Budgeting and Leadership
Another means of empowerment is ordinary life skills, such as learning the principles of leadership or budgeting. Though all people have some basic skills in these areas, at times it is necessary to increase those skills for better management. In addition, to be able to exercise rights, it is necessary to know the civic principles such as how to approach elections, assess candidates for government, etc.
Negotiation Skills Training
It is obvious that there are areas where the women have specific needs, e.g., good land for farming, but at times they struggle with how to attain their objective. Learning about negotiation aids them in speaking out about their needs and rights while creating an atmosphere for others to hear them objectively.
Most rural women engage in farming. When speaking of farmers, it is often male farmers who are the first targets of assistance. HVCF has assisted women’s groups with various trainings and inputs to enable them to have a higher yield on their own farms. In addition, it has assisted them in having group farms.
Peer Educator Programme
With the support of ActionAid Nigeria, HVCF has establishment women peer educators in some communities. The peer educators are trained in some areas of importance and interest, and they then work with women’s groups in their communities to pass on the learning to them. This also gives them opportunity to assess their needs and to discuss how to obtain assistance.
Women’s needs are basically the same, but when people are struggling to survive or keep their heads above water, it is easy to feel that one is alone. Regular women’s forums allow the women to bring for their joys and their concerns, their achievements and their constraints, to share with others and to gain insights into how they can address some of the issues they face.
There are various forms of violence that can take place in rural communities, but HVCF has been particularly concerned about the violence against women, often the silent phenomenon in the community. After lengthy discussion concerning these issues, HVCF, with the assistance of ActionAid Nigeria, in some communities has trained Community Paralegals to address issues of violence which are within their capacity or to know how and where to refer those which are beyond their capacity. The programme is so successful that it is being extended to more communities.