By Taofeek LAWAL, Abuja
As Nigeria joins other countries worldwide to celebrate the 2021 International Women’s Day today March 8, a non-governmental organisation, the Helpline Foundation for the Needy, has called for a more practical approach to reducing extreme poverty among women.
The NGO, in collaboration with Make a Difference for The Needy Foundation and the Association of Wives of Traditional Rulers in FCT, said time has come to move beyond yearly talk shows to empowerment of rural women especially at a time when countries are battling to recover from the economic difficulties occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Founder Helpline Foundation for the Needy, Dr. Jummai Ahmadu, while addressing the media at the end of a skill acquisition training organised for rural women, said the foundation chose to empower women with skills, in line with this year’s theme which is ‘Choose to Challenge.’
According to Ahmadu, “We just want to bring them together, to give them some skills, so that they can challenge themselves, and by the time we meet next time, we will be able to identify the specific things they have done as a result of us bringing them here. We also want move beyond the yearly conferencing, to real empowerment. We have realised that talking is enough, but what women can practically do that makes them better, and that is what we should focus more on.
“That is why Helpline Foundation and its partners this year decided to go to the 17 chiefdoms in the FCT and some parts of Niger and Nasarawa States to see how we can empower them with skills; ranging from Izal making, liquid soap making, shoes and bag making and even beniseed cake making. These have been identified as great sources of revenue generation for these women in rural communities.”
While noting that starting most of the businesses introduced to the women are less capital-intensive, she said the women have acquired the necessary skills that could be put to use and help them support their families.
Also speaking, the Founder of Make A Difference for the Needy Foundation, Mrs. Maria Ogbonnaya-Ngwu, maintained that the essence of the programme was borne out of the belief that every woman has the potential to transform her life regardless of her circumstances.
Ogbonnaya-Ngwu observed that the era whereby the man is seen as the sole provider for his family has gone. She said high financial burden on men could eventually leads to untimely death if help is not coming from their partners.
The wife of the Garki Chief, Hannatu Usman- Nga, who spoke on behalf of the wives of traditional rulers in FCT, thanked Helpline Foundation for the Needy for coming down to the grassroots to empower rural women.
^I’m so happy that our passion is to see how our women especially widows can be self-reliant. The women are encouraged by what Helpline Foundation has done, Usman-Nga said.