Ten mothers of children with cerebral palsy have been empowered with business grants and skills by Mandela Washington Fellows through the Cross-Cohort Collaboration Initiative (CCCI).
In May 2022, Racheal Inegbedion (2021 Mandela Washington Fellow) and Tobiloba Ajayi (2016 Mandela Washington Fellow) won the CCCI grant of 1.5 million Naira to implement the “Empowered Mothers, Thriving Children Cohort 4” which aims to alleviate poverty and promote inclusive economic opportunities for 10 low-income mothers of children and youths with Cerebral Palsy across South West Nigeria.
Also, the project helps to strengthen the educational outcomes of 10 children and youths with cerebral palsy through STEM and Robotics Learning.
After a competitive process of screening and interviews of applicants across Nigeria, 10 mothers with children with Cerebral Palsy were selected for a two weeks capacity building training where they learnt Small Business Development Skills that includes financial management, accounting, budgeting and bookkeeping, interest rate calculation, tracking household inflows and outflows, customer relationship skills, investment after sales, access to financial information platforms and business pitch skills.
They were also equipped with digital marketing skills such as Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp Campaigns, Email marketing and online branding.
The beneficiaries pitched their businesses in the presence of a panel of judges from the Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Association of Nigeria who assessed their business pitch. The judges were Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem (2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumnus), Timi Olagunju (2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumnus) and Seun Shogoloye (2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumna) and Omowonuola Akintunde (the Financial Director of the Special Needs Initiative for Growth).
The children were exposed to activities in STEM by the special needs educators who also showed the mothers some activities that can be replicated at home with the children after school hours.
Ogundare Grace Tolulope, the first place winner of the business pitch was awarded a mobile smartphone and small enterprise grant. The second and third place Winners in the persons of Obaikhena Vivian and Olajide Rebecca Abimbola were awarded small enterprise grants and other prizes.
The seven other participants also received enterprise grants for their businesses. For the 10 children/youths with cerebral palsy, they were provided learning materials of STEM and Robotic Kits to enrich their learning at home and at school.
In representation of the United Mission in Nigeria, the YALI/Mandela Washington Fellowship Coordinator, Austin Emeanua stated that the project is an investment in the young Nigerian leaders such as Racheal Inegbedion and Tobiloba Ajayi who are spearheading the project to encourage them as they continue to empower women so that they can acquire financial literacy and business skills to manage their entrepreneurial activities and provide a better livelihood for their children with cerebral palsy.