Poverty has gained so much space in the Nigerian economy to the extent which Poverty Reduction Programmes top the chart in most governmental and non-governmental action plan. Many a time, these programmes lack the efficacy to bring about the desired results.
Due to some socio-cultural factors, women have been the worst hit of poverty. Some are widows/single parents, some are old-timers while some are the breadwinners in their respective families. Therefore, empowering women has been one of the effective strategies of poverty reduction.
Excellence Community Education Welfare Scheme (ECEWS) and Nka Uforo Iban Akwa Ibom State USA Inc. in 2013 came together to initiate and implement an empowerment project for ultra-poor market women in Akwa Ibom State – Nigeria with ECEWS as the local implementing partner. The pilot phase of the project was implemented at the Akpan Andem entrepreneurial market, Uyo in 2013. In the pilot phase, 25 indigent women were identified from within the market, and were provided with seed grant for entrepreneurial scale up. In 2015, with funding support from Nka Uforo Iban Akwa Ibom State USA Inc. ECEWS replicated the project at Abak LGA targeting indigent women at the Abak main market. The project was successfully implemented with a total of 25 indigent women receiving grants under the project for business scale up.