By Festus Ahon, Asaba
Delta State Governor Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has denounced abuse, marginalization and discrimination against women in most traditional African societies, particularly in the economic sector.
Okowa, who affirmed this when launching the Women’s Skills Acquisition and Empowerment Program, WESAP in Asaba, on Monday, said that women’s empowerment must be addressed with concerted action to close the widening inequality gap in Nigeria. and Africa.
She said the issue of women’s empowerment had long been more than a national concern, adding that both experts and policy makers agreed that the empowerment of women, especially poor rural women, was fundamental to the economic development of Nigeria.
She said financial freedom for women meant safer women, less burden on men, better living standards for the family, better communities and a sense of accomplishment.
Okowa said the state government had gone a step further in its business training and skills acquisition programs by introducing WESAP modeled after other business development programs such as STEP, YAGEP, GEST and RYSA.
He said that with the introduction of WESAP, the state government had covered virtually all vulnerable groups in society in its ongoing efforts to create wealth, achieve social inclusion and develop sustainability.
Okowa: “Since we joined in May 2015, we have taken various measures, especially through the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Microfinance Plan, to lift our women out of poverty and improve their participation in the economy.
“Today we go one step further by introducing the Women’s Skills Acquisition and Empowerment Program (WESAP), modeled after our other business development programs, namely STEP, YAGEP, GEST and RYSA.
“As some of us here may know, the empowerment of women has long been more than a national concern; it is a recurring global problem that must be addressed with concerted action to reduce the growing inequality gap in Nigeria and the African continent.
“In most traditional African societies, experience shows that, despite constituting the majority of the population, women are routinely victims of abuse, marginalization and discrimination, especially in the economic sector.”
The governor highlighted that women continue to be an indispensable tool to create wealth, boost the family economy and build more stable families in their multiple roles as mothers, housewives, farmers, merchants and community leaders.
She added that “experts and policymakers agree that empowering women, especially poor rural women, is critical to economic development in Nigeria.
“Financial freedom for them means safer women, less burden on men, better standards of living for the family, better communities and a sense of fulfillment.
“In presenting WESAP, we are aware of the fact that our women need more than regular brochures; They need 21st century skills that enable and stimulate the production of marketable goods.
“The companies for which the women will be trained span commerce and agribusiness, with active participants coming from market women, artisans and small farmers.
“Our women are known to be very resourceful and good stewards. Therefore, I am confident that the 460 women who are being empowered today will make the State Government proud and will be a good return on investment.
“It is our sincere wish to dramatically increase the number of participants in this program next year, and thus include many more women in this social safety net.”
In her comments, the governor’s wife, Dame Edith Okowa, said that WESAP was a continuation of what her husband’s administration had been doing regarding the skills acquisition and empowerment program.
While saying that it was an incontrovertible fact that administrative jobs barely existed now in contemporary Nigerian society, Dame Okowa implored those elected and appointed to positions of authority to imbibe the noble idea of empowering people in society.
She congratulated the 460 participants in the Women’s Skills Acquisition and Empowerment Program for having been successful in the selection process and urged them not to sell the starter kits that would be delivered to them at the end of their training.
She advised them to embrace Jesus Christ so they could be successful in life.
Earlier in her welcoming address, Commissioner for Women’s Affairs, Community and Social Development, Ms Flora Alatan, had revealed that the Okowa-led administration in the state attached great importance to the empowerment of youth and women, noting The 460 WESAP beneficiaries were carefully selected from the state’s 25 local government areas through a transparent process.
Alatan, who applauded Governor Okowa for his exemplary and exceptional commitment to the issues that border the empowerment of women and youth in the state through various skills training programs, said the 460 program participants would be trained for four weeks.
Therefore, the Commissioner urged them to reciprocate the gesture of the state government by passionately committing to the training program.
In their separate remarks, the Chairman of the House Housing and Women’s Affairs Committee, Chief Ferguson Onwoh, and the whip head of the State Assembly House, Princess Pat Ajudua, applauded Governor Okowa for his enormous investment in women’s and youth development initiatives.