Grooming Centre, a non-governmental organisation that focuses on enabling financial inclusion among market women and artisans has launched a photobook on 30 Nigerian women entitled: The stories of impact: Real Women, Real Lives, Real Growth.
The launch of the photobook, which highlights and celebrates the resilience, grit, and courage of 30 women and their life-changing journey with Grooming Centre, was held at the Grooming Centre Multi-purpose Hall in Ejigbo, Lagos, on Thursday, April 28.
Speaking at the event, Dr Akindele Akinsoye, the CEO of Platform Capital, co-sponsors of the event eulogised women for whom he said the future belonged.
“The work that Grooming Centre is doing is very important because by helping women build sustainable enterprises, tooling them, scaling them, skilling them, they are preparing them to build bigger businesses in the future, being that the micro segment is the conveyor belt of big corporations,” he said.
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The highlight of the event was a review of the book by Yale University Fellow and Founder of the School Politics, Policy, and Governance (SPPG), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili.
Ezekwesili joined virtually, was unable to attend physically as the day was her birthday and her family insisted that she spent it at Abuja.
She lauded the phenomenal work that the organisation was doing, describing it as incredible.
Praising the quality of production of the book, Ezekwesili did a methodical review of the book, telling each story with a passion and that brings to life the experiences of the women in the book, with one of the stories relating to her as a young woman when her father passed on.
Describing the book as one that tells the story of development done at micro level with real impact, she said it made the title – Stories of Impact: Real Women, Real Lives, Real Growth – proper.
“It is a book that should claim a stand on the shelf of development books,” she said.
She pointed out some development issues that the book highlights including the fact that 60 per cent of businesses by women do not have access to finance, a situation which hampers growth from the current case of two per cent of growth annually.
She called for measurement and evaluation of the input of women, calling on the relevant policy makers to get copies of the book promising to send them to the people who should read, with an interest to publicise the good works of Grooming Centre and the wonderful stories of success.
An interesting segment of the event was a fireside chat on sustainable efforts for social impact – The Grooming impact, where the Chief Executive Officer, Grooming Centre, Dr. Godwin Nwabunka and Member, Grooming Centre, Governing Council, Ms. ler Jonathan-Ichaver fielded questions bordering the genesis of Grooming Centre and other related issues.
Anchoring a pledge drive for internally displaced people IDPs in the country, a representative of Grooming Centre’s partner, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, representative and former Sierra Leonian refugee, himself, Tibo Rogers, while calling for donations to the agency, recounted his own experience as a refugee in Ghana, and spoke about the difficult life of refugees.
Goodwill review messages were also done on the book by a few distinguished personalities including former Presidential Candidate for Kowa Party, Professor Remi Sonaiya, who lauded the sterling efforts of Grooming Centre.
Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Dr Essien, introduced a lot of humour in his brief review of the book that sent the entire hall reeling with laughter, but all the while pointing out the fine points in the book, while inspiring the audience.
The presentation of the book was the semi climax of the event, done with the women whose stories were told right on the podium.
Grooming Centre is an NGO founded in 2006 to address the perennial challenge of access to credit at the base of the pyramid.
Since its inception, the Centre has provided 12 million credits and currently empowers 720,000 client members by providing financial and non-financial services through a network of 605 branches in 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory.