Since the inaugural meeting of EDEMCS (Ewu Development and Educational Multipurpose Co-operative Society) took place more than a year has passed. The organization has mastered many stages ranging from the official registration with Edo State, the cultivation of interest and trust in the village up to the engagement of the community.
Fortunately, the King of Ewu, Father Anselm Adodo (OSB), the St. Benedict Monastery and Paxherbals enjoy a great amount of respect in the community, making it easier to align the interests of the local individuals. Hence, EDEMCS was able to tackle its first project: empowering local women through micro financing.
It was agreed that women should be the focus of the first round of financing for various reasons: First and foremost, women in Ewu are more reliable when it comes to paying back loans and secondly it is important to nurture the process of emancipation in the community in order to start the transformation. In that sense, the stage was ready for the first act of financing.
First Subvention for the Local Farmers
On January, the 23rd 2016 on a hot dry-season day the local farmers, those that were selected by the EDEMCS committee, gathered at the palace of the King of Ewu. The purpose of this meeting was one of a positive nature: the first check in the young history of EDEMCS was presented to the local women on that day.
The money was given out to 7 farmers, each representing one of the seven communities which compose the Ewu-Kingdom and each check was worth N50,000. An agreement was reached, that there should be two payments over the course of 12 months with an interest rate of 10%, culminating in N55,000. The 10% interest rate is unheard of in Nigeria since normal interest rates for micro financing banks start from 15% and go up to 25%.
The local farmers are accompanied by EDEMCS throughout the whole process of cultivation. They are tutored in traditional farming techniques to ensure the survival and spread of indigenous knowledge. Frequent consultations by EDEMCS ensure that this first batch of financing is a successful one and only one of many more to come.
The Next Step
While the women are cultivating their first crops with the help of EDEMCS, the next round of financing is being negotiated with Sterling Bank, so that many other farmers can benefit in the foreseeable future.
written by: Amadeus Stickl