By Maryam Garba Hassan
Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Hajiya Zainab Maina has said the federal government has kept aside N200m to be spent on the training and empowering of widows in the country under the Widows Empowerment Scheme.
She said the initiative is to encourage the development of programmes that focus on economic empowerment of widows, promote their integration into mainstream society, focus on building their capacity to be self –reliant and provide opportunities for widows and women to actualize the potentials they possess. The minister made the disclosure yesterday, in Abuja, at the training session of the widows to commemorate this year’s International Widows Day, with the theme: “Empowering Widows: Uplifting the Status of Women”.
She said the economic empowerment of women, including widows, is a critical factor in the eradication of poverty and therefore, called for women should be an integral part of the society.
She called on member states, UN system and other international organisations to give social attention, within their respective mandates, to the situation of widows and their children and to raise awareness of the issue around the world. “When widows gain knowledge, their children learn. When become employed, economies grow. As they access their rights, their communities become stronger. I am optimistic that with the tacit contribution of all, the future will be brighter for Nigerians widows”, she said. She urged the beneficiaries of the scheme to appreciate the confidence reposed in them by selecting them to take their case seriously.
In her goodwill message, the Director-General of National Women Development Centre, Onyeka Owenu, said presently, 300 widows are undergoing training in different trades of their choice.