Beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) in Kwara, Kogi and Imo states have commended the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development for the scheme.
The beneficiaries who are mostly women were placed on N10, 000 bi-monthly stipends and told The Guardian, how the gesture has benefitted their households because it has financed their mini businesses and reduced their untold hardship.
Specifically, a widower at Karuma Community, Gambari II Ward, Ilorin East local government Area, Kwara State, Mrs. Afusat Aliyu said life had been difficult for her as she was saddled with the responsibility of the upkeep of her children.
Mrs. Aliyu said since she started receiving the stipends from the government, there have been surpluses for her and the children.
She said: “Life was very difficult, eating and feeding was a problem. The children could not go to school, and since feeding was a problem for us, the idea of children going to school was the last thing I could think about.
“The introduction of this programme has to a large extent brought about a change in the wellbeing of my household. Shortly after I started collecting the money, I started saving as a result of the training given to us by Cash Transfer Facilitators (CTFs) on savings and group mobilisation.”
Another beneficiary from Mpam Community, Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area, Imo State, Mrs. Jane Uche, said the money enabled her to start Firewood/Oil Palm/Poultry businesses.
“I am very happy to be a beneficiary of the Household Uplifting Programme-Conditional Cash Transfer (HUP-CCT). Before my household started benefiting from the programme, life was so difficult for us as there was no help from anywhere.
“My husband and I had to go to the bush every time to pick palm kernels to break for the children to eat and sometimes we go out to weed people’s farms in the community to be able to put food on the table for the children.
“Things became worse when my husband fell ill and could no longer do any meaningful thing to sustain the family but thank God for the programme. But as soon as we started benefiting from the programme, things started changing for the better.
“After collecting the stipends for some time, I started selling firewood, some months after with profit made from the firewood, I started small poultry and palm oil business. I was able to do this based on the training we received on saving and group mobilisation.”
She said the businesses generated enough income for the household as they can now, feed and pay school fees of the children without hassles adding that they are no longer in lack.
“It is with the HUP-CCT money that I was able to register my children for the WAEC examination. We are indeed grateful for this programme.”
Also speaking with The Guardian, a resident of Ukpowa community in Yagba West Local Government, Kogi State, Mariam Okpeoye claimed she was a farmer but her farm produce was not enough to feed her family hence she always goes out to beg but when she started getting the stipend she used it to sell charcoal but in small bits.
She said after collecting the last contribution she bought 20 bags of charcoal that she is currently selling to people in the community.
Head of the unit, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Social Investment Program Office, Kogi State, Falilat Yinka Rasaq said the testimonies they receive from the beneficiaries across the 21 local Government areas meant alots to them and encouraged them to want to do more.
She added that during coaching and mentoring the beneficiaries, they were encouraged to save part of the N10, 000 bi-monthly stipends.
The programme provides targeted cash transfers to the most vulnerable households with the long-term goal of lifting millions out of poverty.
A monthly stipend of N5, 000 ($13.89) is given to households in poverty-stricken communities along with an additional N5, 000 for families designated as priorities or extreme cases. Along with the cash transfers, as part of the program, beneficiaries are supported, mentored, and coached by trained community facilitators who visit them weekly to help them take ownership of their lives.
Savings groups are formed to create communities to share and grow financial knowledge, provide training for employment and life skills, as well as improve nutrition, hygiene, and sanitary conditions. Part of the requirement is that households with school-age children enroll in school to promote education enrollment and incentivize educational attainment. As of 2018, payment was going to over 297,000 beneficiaries supported by 2,495 community facilitators.