Africa has a large number of women who endure inequality and lack of access to financial services. Sadly, Nigeria is at the centre of this. But the Tariro project being initiated by the Centre for Health Science Training and Development (CHESTRAD) is set to fill the gap.
The President of CHESTRAD, Dr Lola Dare, made this known during a virtual side event at the just concluded 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The event which discussed the theme ‘from aid to trade: sustainable transformation of African financing for children, girls and women’ had speakers like Mr Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director of Nigeria’s Bank of Industry (BoI), Dr Emmanuel Zamba, General Manager, Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Dr Naveen Rao, Senior Vice President Health, Rockefeller Foundation and others.
Dr Lola explained that the Tariro project is anchored on three thematic words: thrive, excel and survive. According to her, the project seeks to improve gender equity and human capital development.
With attention to financial inclusion among women, Tariro will utilise the latest technology to reach women in slums, starting from Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, and take financial services to them. It will leverage on platforms like Soft Alliances’ ‘Soft Speed’ to ensure women get loans and grants to support their businesses. There is also the health recording management solution where the health services will be rendered.
Beyond the loans, women will get business coaching and support services to enable them to take right decisions and build their business to very profitable levels, which will not just empower them to provide for themselves and their families but reduce the rate of unemployment and poverty in Africa.
“We figured out that if we drive financial inclusion among women, they will be able to access services in education and health,” she said.
Beyond financial inclusion, the project will also focus on providing early child learning and special education services. On health, it will provide social protection, psycho-social care, nutrition, immunisation, screening and diagnostics services. All these will be anchored on technology and data science.
Dr Dare explained that the project’s commitment is to ensure no child, girl or woman is left behind, denied access to global public goods or denied inputs to survive, thrive and excel. It targets 500,000 directly and 3.5 million people indirectly.
Also speaking during the event, Olukayode Pitan, MD, BoI, admitted that with the prevalent interest rate on loans and the cost of providing health services, most Nigerians who are poor may not be able to access healthcare services. Hence, “we have to find innovative ways on how we can lend in a place like Nigeria and find ways to make it sustainable.”
He explained that one of the ways to find a solution to poor funding of the healthcare sector and make the services available to poor Nigerians is to bring in private partners, like the CHESTRAD and its project, Tariro.