What We Do

Development Exchange Centre (DEC) is a women focus non- governmental organization, empowering communities with its inclusive services and approach.For the past 29 years, DEC has been training community members across 19 of 36 states of Nigeria on governance issues, health enlightenment and services, entrepreneurial skills for women and providing micro finance credit facilities for sustainability.


Empowering women to improve their living conditions and status through partnerships and integrated development services and initiatives.


A society with equitable opportunities for sustainable development.

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DEC as an institution is guided by strategic documents that are developed for fixed periods, mostly 5 years. The current strategic plan will run from 2019 through 2023. To ensure that its strategic plan aligns with those of its stakeholders, DEC ensures the inclusion and participation of these key players during its strategic plan development process.

One-time donations 65%
Recurring donations 44%
Anonymous donations 78%

Brief History

DEC is a non-governmental, non-discriminating, not-for-profit, women-focused organisation improving the wellbeing of women groups and communities in Nigeria through socio-economic interventions for sustainable development. DEC is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as an entity incorporated by trust with number (IT-10826).
The establishment of Development Exchange Centre (DEC) in 1987 was inspired by research conducted by a group of volunteers from the Canadian University Services Overseas (CUSO) with support from the Adult and Non-Formal Education Agency (ANFEA), Bauchi state which highlighted various ways and areas in which women were disadvantaged and marginalized, particularly in northern Nigeria. DEC was conceived as a social enterprise to empower women and improve their living conditions and status through integrated development services and initiatives.
DEC started as a forum to exchange development ideas among practitioners in the industry and women groups, and it emerged with the mission to deliver both social and economic development services to identified target populations. Over the years DEC has pursued its mission through various services including functional adult education; vocational skills development; livelihood & resilience; sexual and reproductive health education; water, sanitation & sustainable environment; democracy and good governance; and microfinance for which DEC is most known. Currently, DEC is present in 24 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria, operating through 32 Area Offices that oversee 130 business units.


  • To empower women through project funding and capacity building.
  • To provide an effective information network among women groups and other relevant development organisations.
  • To improve the living conditions of women by providing access to microservices and promoting entrepreneurial development to women groups.
  • To improve the skills of governmental and non-governmental agencies, organisations, and workers by providing appropriate training and workshops.
  • To support community development efforts and initiatives through integrated and participatory approaches for sustainable development at the grassroots.
  • Facilitate the provision of appropriate extension services to women through governmental and non-governmental channels and agents.

Core Values

  • Transparency: Being open and accountable in the use of resources and in the ways decisions are made on matters of interest to the organization and its stakeholders.
  • Teamwork: Complementing each other’s ideas and expertise towards achieving both individuals as well as organizational goals.
  • Accountability: Willing and ready to perform in a manner that shows the organization is responsible and answerable to all its stakeholders, both internal and external.
  • Integrity: Ensuring credibility, trustworthiness and projecting a positive image of individual and organization at all times and in all things.
  • Partnership: DEC values relationship, rights, responsibilities and mutual sharing of resources for the achievement of common goals.
  • Innovation/Creativity: Valuing and encouraging the ability to bring out new and great ideas. 

The establishment of Development Exchange Centre (DEC) in 1987 was inspired by research conducted by a group of volunteers from the Canadian University Services Overseas (CUSO) with support from the Adult and Non-Formal Education Agency (ANFEA), Bauchi state



Our Partners

Improved and sustainable livelihood.
DEC is working to improve the most vulnerable households in communities with high risk of food insecurity and dwindling livelihoods. Contributing to SDG1- “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”; and SDG2- “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.

How this works?
Through vocational and entrepreneurial skills development and capacity building, livelihood and employment opportunities will be created. The strengthening of households’ economies through facilitating the formation of self-help groups and the inculcation of the Village Savings & Loans Association (VSLA) methodology for financial access and inclusion for these groups will lead to the reduction of poverty in vulnerable households. And, by inculcating methods and techniques of sustainable agriculture in farmers’ groups; creating timely access to agricultural input and building farmers’ knowledge on the agricultural value chain processes, we hope to attain increased food security for communities

Improved health and well-being
DEC is continuously responding to issues of maternal & child health including healthy nutrition and tackling communicable and non-communicable diseases, especially in unreached and underserved communities. This is to help “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”- SDG3.

How this works?
Through capacity building (and equipping) for communities’ Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) on safe, modern child delivery practices laying emphasis on Ante-Natal Care (ANC) uptake, facility delivery and subsequent care (immunization & nutrition). Utilizing community outreaches to create awareness on communicable and non-communicable diseases/ailments including cancer, VVF, visual impairment, dental and mental illness, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and subsequent treatment and/or referrals. Partnering with available healthcare centers to create access to health services to remote communities.

mproved access to qualitative and functional education.
One of DEC’s imperatives is tackling the issues of high levels of illiteracy resulting from poor access and quality of education especially among women and the girl-child respectively, to avail the “foundational and higher-order skills; greater and more equitable access to technical and vocational education, training and higher education; training throughout life and the knowledge, skills, and values needed to function well and contribute to society” as denoted by SDG4.

How this works?
Using tailored advocacy and campaigns deliberately targeted at policymakers, state ministries-departments-agencies (including an agency for mass literacy), cultural & religious leaders and parents, school management committees and pressure groups to secure their commitments to work toward averting the negative trend toward formal education and improve school enrolment-to-completion, especially for the girl-child. Creating awareness within communities on the need for educating adult women and out of school adolescents and the establishing of adult literacy centres with REFLECT-based curriculum to improving literacy rate and hone life skills among rural dwellers.
REFLECT- Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques

Access to justice, accountable institutions, peaceful and inclusive societies.
DEC’s vision-“a society with equitable opportunities for sustainable development” relates directly to the SDG16 that “envisages peaceful and inclusive societies based on respect for human rights, the rule of law, good governance at all levels, and transparent, effective and accountable institutions”. The vision also has an undertone in the SDG5- “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”- which transcends all of DEC’s thematic sectors (economic empowerment (livelihoods), education, health, environment, and good governance).

How this works?
Existing community structures, are empowered through capacity building and supported on persistent advocacy strategies to hold public officials accountable and for public officials to be aware and alive to their responsibilities; and for citizens to become more responsive, active and knowledgeable in civic duties, leadership and decision-making processes. Citizens are able to seek and acquire information and actualize fundamental rights, and seek justice without conflict thereby reducing violence, violence-related losses in lives and property and yielding more peaceful, just and accountable societies.

Sustainable management of energy, water & sanitation.
DEC works with rural communities to achieve access to sanitation and the long term sustainability of resources and our environment. This is in tandem with the SDGs 6- “…availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”; 7- “…access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”; & 13- “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.

How this works?
working with community structures such as water management committees, environment protection committees, and or sanitation committees, DEC awakens communities to the reality of water and environmental degradation and pollution, climate change and its impact on health. The committees with support from the community drive the process of ensuring toilet adoption, construction and utilization towards attaining Open-Defecation-Free (ODF) communities. The committees also assume the management of community water points for sustainability. The community members’ capacity is built on raising plant nurseries and plant management to raise community plant nurseries and participate in tree planting campaigns, joining the battle against desertification and the effects of climate change. In furtherance of the climate change battle, communities are introduced to energy efficient stoves that are capable of reducing firewood consumption by 80%.

Access to finance is a fundamental index for determining the poverty status of a population. It is critical to achieving socio-economic enhancement and to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” – SDG1. Through microcredit, DEC has provided access to finance, financial services and financial inclusion to, especially the unserved and underserved persons and communities.
DEC has served over 300,000 women, groups; and functioned as a financial service provider to organizations and government agencies including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and the Bank of Industries (BoI).

How this works? “Save to Produce”
DEC’s fundamental ideology imparted on beneficiaries encourages nurturing a savings culture for posterity. DEC has a wide range of savings products for ease and convenience of the beneficiary. Through savings, a person is able to grow a capital base for subsistence and enterprise use and avoid unnecessary borrowing- this is financial independence.
DEC supports small start-ups and encourages women working in groups of 10-25 members. These small groups are self-help groups (SHG) with the common ideas of association and leadership. Members of the groups have access to credit facilities to start-up or boost new or existing enterprises respectively.
Apex organizations such as cooperatives are also supported to provide financial services to their members.
DEC continues to develop dynamic products and solutions to meet peculiar business needs such as micro, small entrepreneur, small & medium enterprise (SME), on-lending, home asset, housing, and agricultural loans.
All surplus generated at the end of a financial period is ploughed back into the social program to accommodate more beneficiaries.

On behalf of Bread for the World, a representative from Germany (left) receives an award from the Executive Director of the Development Exchange Centre during a support visit to Nigeria in October 2023

A group photo featuring DEC staff, management, BoD and Bread for the World representatives during support visit to Nigeria in October 2023

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