By Stanley Onyekwere
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, Helpline Foundation for the Needy, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) is calling for a more practical approach to reducing extreme poverty amongst women.
The NGO, said it was time to move beyond the 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.
This position was made at the weekend, during its skills acquisition training organised for rural women, in collaboration with Make a Difference for The Needy Foundation and the Association of Wives of Traditional Rulers in FCT.
Speaking with journalists, the founder of Helpline Foundation, Dr. Jummai Ahmadu, said the NGO chose to empower women with skills, in line with this year’s theme which is choose to challenge.
Ahmadu said: “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, 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 beni seed cake making. These have been identified as great sources of revenue generation for these women in rural communities.”
Similarly, the Founder of Make A Difference for the Needy Foundation, Mrs. Maria Ogbonnaya-Ngwu, noted that 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, noting that the 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 the Helpline Foundation for the Needy, for coming down to the grassroots to empower rural women.
According to her, “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”.