“No Woman Left Out Initiative, Africa” is aimed at effectively facilitating women’s increased and meaningful participation in Cooperatives that will ensure at least 50% of Women across the Country are well integrated into the Co-operative Movement by the year 2022.

The programme is to raise women’s active involvement in Co-operatives through a well coordinated National level Strategy. “Participation” is one of the Co-operative sectors most valuable assets and one of the five pillars of the ICA Blueprint, 2020 Agenda hence this initiative is considered a legitimate goal of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) 2020 vision. The programme is consistent with the theme of this year’s (2017) International day of Cooperatives which is Inclusion. Co-operatives Ensure No One is Left Behind.

As an objective measure of our success, our national ambition is that by 2022 …”every woman, in every village, in every Ward, in every Local Government Area Country joins Co-operatives as a form of social Protection”. This will enable Women the opportunity to join a Co-operative.

The programme which is professionally rolled out is envisioned as the largest economic and social movement for Women in Nigeria. The current recession experienced in the Country which has left as vestiges, significant economic pressure on Women has elicited this landmark programme and it will be profoundly useful to complement the on-going Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government. The programme will benefit all Nigerian Women including the most vulnerable and people of the simplest means who are building their lives through cooperation.

According to the United Nations, One-third of the livelihood of the World’s population is made secured by Co-operatives. As a model in Africa to raise Women’s participation in Co-operatives, It will contribute concretely towards achieving towards target 4.6 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Co-operative model can provide women with a more dignified way out of poverty, often away from violence and abuse.

The cooperative Business Model is often held up as a form of enterprise that is not only economically sustainable and democratically responsive to their community but also subversively empowering. This programme has a dual component of Literacy Training (Mentorship) and Empowerment (Seed Funding).

Literacy is an essential life skill which overtime has been a valuable element in women’s empowerment. Literacy skills can help women to develop the confidence to participate more actively in Co-operatives by improving their level of knowledge and awareness which will ultimately motivate and increase their involvement. Thus, nurturing participation at grass-root levels will strengthen the legitimacy and sustainability of the programme.

As we are implementing this ambitious strategy across the Country, this programme adopts a decentralized implementation model and it is in-line with global best practices.
Women constitute fewer than 20% of Co-operative membership in Nigeria and in order to protect themselves against the hard conditions of the market economy and society.

Women have a lower socioeconomic set up which limits their opportunities to participate in formal groups. It will make women’s voice to be heard from an under-represented silence to an amplified level. This programme if successfully implemented as proposed will benefit all Nigerian-women including the most vulnerable and people of the simplest means, who are building their lives together through co-operation.

The programme has far-reaching macroeconomic implications for the Country such as;

Reduction in poverty levels and creation of economic opportunities.
It will lay the foundation for a solidarity economy in the country.
It will drive women’s financial inclusion at scale and play a significant role towards achieving the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, 2020.
It will raise the literacy bar amongst women much higher in co-operative to 75% or more by 2022.
Women will be productively engaged and able to add additional 25 Billion USD annually to the economy.

Individually, in a co-operative, Women have a right to information, a voice, and representation. We use the word “participation” as shorthand to refer to this bundle of rights to enhance their social protection. Co-operatives are sites for learning how to participate in decision making and as such, they generate a public good which exceeds their economic imperative. (culled from ICA Blueprint 2020 /participation).

A Co-operative, however strong on weak it might be, is more often than not, the only institution women can rely on to protect themselves against. And the voices of this silent group are not heard very much by co-operative hold much potential to empower women by enhancing their collective bargaining power thereby enabling them to leverage enhanced market opportunities.

Co-operatives can be used as breeding grounds to empower women. Co-operatives enable Women to unite in solidarity and provide a network of mutual support to overcome restrictions to pursuit commercial or economic activities. It is an institution that can rapidly enhance women’s dignity and greatly improve their living and family standards.


To avoid the programme being conceptually flawed and operationally impossible to implement. NWLOI will be test-run only in 2017 across 13 States of the Country in its first phase through a State and Local Government Management Teams.

The teams will be responsible for driving the implementation of the programme at the Wards and Local Government levels. Furthermore, from 2018, “No Woman Left Out Initiative” will begin operations in 23 States of the Country and the F.C.T.

In order to raise their participation these two-pronged approach has been in co-operated into the programme as represented in the diagram below;


Awareness, Advocacy & Sensitization

Improve the level of knowledge in cooperative and raise awareness of the value of cooperative and its emerging importance in the lives of people
Motivate the women through training (capacity) development
Increase their involvement/ participation in co-operative


Grants, Equipment & Machineries/Trainings


Raise their cooperative literacy bar (level)
Livelihood improvement
Self Sufficiency

It is our believe that women should be carried along in National development efforts as every woman is important and has a role to play within the family, community, and nation in general towards self actualization for national development.

Women are considered the bridge between the family, labour market and society, thus, the extent to which the agency of cooperatives as a breeding ground can help women onto the ladder of economic activity is through their effective participation in cooperatives. This is the world’s uniquely appropriates.

To develop a critical mass of Women led Co-operatives in Nigeria.
To enhance women’s social protection through co-operatives
To Raise the active participation of women in cooperatives across the country