• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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IWD: LAPO MFB inspiring women inclusion!

IWD: LAPO MFB inspiring women inclusion!

The obstacles women encounter in attaining financial support and bridging social disparity gaps are intricate and firmly established. Despite progress in gender parity, women persist in facing systemic hurdles that impede their access to financial resources and pathways for socioeconomic progress.

The economic landscape presents a significant challenge for women due to their limited assets, impeding their access to traditional financial avenues for loans and credit. This barrier is worsened by social inequalities, disproportionately affecting women in underserved communities like rural areas and low-income households. These marginalised women face heightened obstacles in obtaining vital services such as education, healthcare, and employment opportunities, perpetuating cycles of poverty and hindering their progress towards socio-economic advancement.

LAPO Microfinance, in its early formative stages, prioritised women’s inclusion and empowerment. The microfinance bank’s transformative journey began with the disbursement of N300 to three market women by Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, founder of LAPO, in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State. This initiative has since expanded significantly and has evolved in the disbursement of over 1 trillion naira in micro-credits to low-income households and owners of micro, small, and medium enterprises, largely consisting of women throughout our over 500 branch network across 34 states, including the FCT Abuja, Nigeria.

In alignment with the 2024 International Women’s Day, themed Inspire Inclusion, LAPO Microfinance Bank highlights significant milestones in its journey of financial inclusion, women empowerment, and social intervention for women and women-owned businesses in Nigeria. The Bank has consistently catalysed positive change, equipping women with the necessary resources, support, and opportunities to excel in the realm of business and beyond.

An outcome of our deep research is the Supporting Female Entrepreneur (SUFEN) product, which caters to the financial needs of women entrepreneurs by providing easy access to credit at a highly competitive rate. In addition, the LAPO My Pikin & I account is carefully designed with a very low entry requirement of N200 to enable mothers to save easily for their children with a huge opportunity to qualify for scholarships and access insurance that covers health while enjoying interest on their savings.

Q: “The Bank has consistently catalysed positive change, equipping women with the necessary resources, support, and opportunities to excel in the realm of business and beyond.”

To bridge identified social and material deprivation gaps, such as lack of access to basic education and social services, LAPO Microfinance Bank has deployed several interventions: the LAPO Scholarship Scheme, the Skills Acquisition Programme, health awareness and health check services, and legal aid services to help women who are disenfranchised or abused in partnerships. Over 4,000 of our clients’ children have benefited from the scholarship scheme, over 900 have benefited from skills acquisition, and over 20,000 women have benefited from our health care sensitization and services.

In 2021, LAPO MfB was adjudged by StatiSense, a leading data analytics company, as the 5th largest employer of labour in Nigeria. LAPO is deliberate about providing gainful employment, especially to women. The bank’s over 7,000 staff have a 60:40 ratio of women and men, respectively. It is also worthy of note that the board composition has 70 percent female members.

In recognition of LAPO Microfinance’s impact on women, LAPO Microfinance Bank has garnered multiple accolades: the Excellence in Inclusive Finance Award by Digibank Summit (2024), the Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards (2023) for the 9th consecutive time, the Most Female-Centric Microfinance Bank by Women in Marketing and Communications (WIMCA) award (2021), and the Microfinance Bank with the Highest Disbursement to Women and Youths Award by Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) Bank in 2021, amongst others.

LAPO Microfinance Bank, on this occasion of International Women’s Day, celebrates with women redefining and making an impact across the world and reiterates our commitment to continue to lead the campaign for women’s empowerment through the provision of equal economic opportunities, gainful employment, and social interventions in the most sustainable manner.

Through our efforts, we aim to inspire women to pursue their ambitions and achieve remarkable success.