Despite the prevailing challenges of rising insecurity and unemployment in Nigeria, The Skilled Women Initiative (TSWINI), an NGO, is making a significant impact by supporting internally displaced women with both soft and hard skills. Through their comprehensive training and empowerment programs, TSWINI is empowering women in IDP camps to acquire valuable skills, fostering economic independence, and promoting sustainable livelihoods.
Zara Musa, a beneficiary of TSWINI's training and impact fund, exemplifies the success of the initiative. After receiving training in tailoring and crocheting, Musa established her own clothing company, Zafat Fa Pepar. Specializing in baby crochet dresses and various uniforms, Musa's business has flourished, attracting prestigious clients such as CiiE luxuries and cuddles and co. She attributes her success to TSWINI, which introduced her to these skills and provided the necessary support.
Hafsat Mohammed, another beneficiary at the Durumi Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Abuja, expressed her aspirations to set up her own business outside the IDP camp once she completes her training. Prior to TSWINI's intervention, many women and girls in the camp lacked basic skills to earn income and relied on handouts. TSWINI's training has equipped them with valuable skills that enable them to support themselves and contribute to their families' well-being.
Access to quality healthcare and sustainable livelihoods were major challenges for IDPs in the camp. The intervention by TSWINI has not only provided skills training but also instilled hope and improved the economic conditions of the women. Through the acquisition of skills in tailoring, bead bag making, and hat and fascinator design, these women have gained the means to generate income and support their families.
The Director of TSWINI, Chisom Ihebuzo Nwankwo, acknowledged the mindset challenges they face when reaching out to women and girls in IDP camps. She emphasized the importance of empowering them to understand the value of work and self-sufficiency rather than relying solely on handouts. Nwankwo called for increased support and partnerships to replicate their intervention in all IDP camps, enabling small businesses to hire skilled women from these communities.
The TSWINI foundation's intervention aligns with the vision of a global society striving for sustainability and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By providing access to skills training, financial inclusion, and the marketplace, TSWINI promotes gender equality, decent work, and economic growth (SDG 8). The organization's focus on vulnerable populations, reintegration, and cooperation among beneficiaries contributes to SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities). Additionally, their emphasis on vocational skills, clean technology, and agricultural technology supports SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) and SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).
While TSWINI's intervention has positively impacted the lives of many women and girls in IDP camps, challenges remain. The organization faces difficulties in securing reliable partners and obtaining accurate data on the number of IDPs and refugees in the country. Despite these limitations, TSWINI has trained over 1,500 women in Abuja, Benue, and Nasarawa States, making significant strides towards achieving the SDGs.
The empowerment of internally displaced women through skills training not only promotes their economic independence and well-being but also strengthens the fabric of society. By investing in women's education and economic empowerment, TSWINI and similar initiatives contribute to building resilient communities, fostering social inclusion, and advancing sustainable development. As Nigeria works towards addressing the challenges of insecurity, unemployment, and displacement, the progress made by TSWINI serves as an inspiring example of civil society's vital role in creating a more sustainable and equitable future.
More information: https://tswini.org