By Maryam Garba Hassan
As part of activities marking the 2014 International Day of Families (IYF) in Nigeria, the Federal Government yesterday empowered about one hundred Nigerian families who are in distress.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina, who gave out the cash grants to the beneficiaries, re-affirmed the commitment of the federal government to support and strengthen Nigerian family units to enable them play the roles ascribed to them by the society, especially at this time of socio-economic changes and security challenges.
She said, “Discrimination and unequal access to social services deprive families of the opportunity to plan a better future for their children.”
The Minister said, “The more we understand what the implications of poverty are, particularly, the impact of poverty on the family and society, the better we can design policies in ways that are proactive, comprehensive, effective and functional.
She said that was why her Ministry introduced various economic windows, capacity building and training in income generating activities for various family members so as to assist them in addressing poverty and ensure peace and peaceful co-existence.
“These includes the construction and equipping of seventy-seven skills acquisition centres for women, provision of Business Development Fund for women(BUDFOW) and the Women Fund for Economic Empowerment(WOFEE),”she said.
The minister said a total of 3,339 women groups and cooperatives have so far accessed the funds.
“Four hundred persons with disabilities were trained and empowered with the sum of N120 million while 172 others were also trained and empowered with the sum of N6.1 million,” she added.
While charging the various beneficiaries to make judicious use of the funds, the Minister said her ministry will continue to ensure that the society is better supported and strengthened so as to position the family to play its expected role of enhancing harmony, cohesion and progress.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Habiba Lawal, emphasized the importance Nigeria attaches to families regarding their situations.