As countries round the globe marked the 2018 International Women’s Day, an international organisation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), in collaboration with the Wanda Adu Foundation (WAF), has changed the stories of few struggling women by supporting them to chart a new course. REGINA OTOKPA was there
International Women’s Day (IWD), is a day set aside every March 8 centuries ago, to acknowledge, celebrate and appreciate the social, cultural, economic and political achievement of women. It is also a day for collective action and shared ownership for accelerating gender parity and a day to truly Press for Progress to make a positive difference for women.
The British Government in its IWD message noted that 57 per cent of women in Nigeria feel unable to support themselves compared to 47 per cent of men.
According to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, there was an urgent need for development policies to champion quality girls’ education, training, protection and empowerment of the poorest and most vulnerable girls to get the skills they need to get good jobs, build successful careers and have a choice over their futures.
However, domestic and international governments need the support of Nongovernmental Organizations, the church and individuals no matter how little, to achieve the mandate of transforming the lives of women and girls to reduce poverty and increase stability in any nation of the world.
It was against this backdrop that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in collaboration with the Wanda Adu Foundation (WAF), reached out to empower some struggling ladies after completion of its skills acquisition training.
One of the beneficiaries of a brand new industrial sewing machine , Mrs Choji Penwinah, an indigene of Plateau State residing in Apo, has been confronted with the huge difficulty of catering for her family with the meagre business of sewing with outdated sewing machines which according to her, could manage to produce just one dress within a day.
Widowed with three children, she excitedly told Inside Abuja that the new machine would enable an expansion of her business of eight years which was presently in her room, to better support her family.
“The industrial machine is a plus to what I have been doing over time and I intend to put it in to use as soon as I get it. It sews faster; it has about five multiple functions like zigzag, button holes unlike the ones I have which has just one function. It will help me to expand my capacity. I didn’t know it was on her mind, I never discussed it with her but it’s a desire in my heart and somehow God used her to fulfill it. I am so grateful.
“I was unable to meet up with a lot of work last year during the festive period because I had limited capacity but with this, I can make at least three clothes in a day whereas the other one is one dress per day,” she said.
Since she finished secondary school in 2009, 27-year-old Blessing Aguba has not had anything meaningful to do. After an extensive training on catering, the foundation made available to her, all basic catering equipment, including a gas cooker and cake mixer to enable her achieve positive results in life.
Blessing, who told Inside Abuja her mother was late and her father was a retired civil servant, noted that, “we were up to 17 in my catering class and I am short of words. I intend to start a business with it. I also have plans of continuing with my education and so, with the little I can get from this, I should be able to personally fund my education.
This is a blessing to me and my family.”
On her part, Blessing Ezeugo received a scholarship from WAF/AHF, to successfully complete her education, in addition to a makeup and fashion designing training.
The undergraduate of Administration and Planning with the University of Abuja, lamented that though willing, her parents lacked the capacity to help her achieve her dreams and aspirations.
“My father is a retired civil servant. My mother is a petty trader. I have the determination to be educated and since I came in contact with WAF last year, they have been helping me achieve that by sponsoring every part of my education. I intend to make use of my skills to setup a business to further help me advance in life.”
According to the founder WAF, Wanda Ebe, the organization with AHF have been able to train and empower over 72 women and girls, including former sex workers, single mothers, school dropouts and widows.
“We have trained 72 women between November and February 28 this year and we have selected a few of them to empower them in their various skills. Some who have the skills set, we helped improve on their skills.
“We are giving out everything to start sewing, baking and makeup such as: industrial sewing machine, gas cooker, cake mixer, baking pans, makeup kit and so much more,” she added.
Honing their skills in air power
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), last week, held a one-day enlightenment workshop on air power for Defence Correspondents in Abuja. EMMANUEL ONANI was there
The importance of knowledge acquisition in every human endeavour was underscored in the renaissance period by an English philosopher and essayist, Francis Bacon, who said that, “knowledge is power”. Bacon’s postulation was accentuated by another British poet and author of An Essay on Criticism, Alexander Pope, who declared that, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”.
It was, perhaps, in recognition of the need to know better, that the Nigerian Air Force’s (NAF) Directorate of Public Relations and Information, organised the Thursday, March 8 workshop for Defence Correspondents.
The one-day workshop, which was facilitated by the Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, sought to equip the journalists with basic knowledge on reporting activities of the NAF, which is the Service responsible for projecting the nation’s air power.
The enlightenment training was declared open by the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who drew parallels between information management and national development.
The CAS, who was represented by the Chief of Administration, Air Vice Marshal Ibrahim Yahaya, had argued that negative reportage of military activities and operations, has adverse effect on national security.
“Therefore, a Defence Correspondent must understand the terminologies associated with his beat to enable him report events professionally”, the Air Chief said.
Against the backdrop, Abubakar urged the participants to take full advantage of the session, in a bit to better their lot.
In his welcome remarks, the Air Force spokesman reiterated the fact that, “the workshop was aimed at better equipping Defence Correspondents with requisite skills and updated knowledge on the application of air power”.
According to Adesanya, the enlightenment workshop, which witnessed impressive presentations from senior officers, was also intended to acquaint Defence Correspondents with specific air power terminologies, with a view to enhancing professionalism in the reportage of NAF events.
“The nature of warfare has assumed a new dimension and therefore, accurate reportage of NAF air operations would prevent avoidable controversies.
“Whether we admit it or not, the nation is going through series of security challenges, (and) it is time for us (military and the media) to sit down and work together. The military and media are partners and this partnership must work”, the DOPRI said.
That was as he described the Armed Forces and Media as two sides of the same coin.
His words: “It is expected that the quality of reportage on our air operations should show that the society appreciates those officers and men on the battle field. Once they don’t get positive vibes, they get demoralised.
“We should see more of the victory surfacing. The more emphasis on our victories and progresses, than our weakness, the better for us.”
Adesanya, who presented a Paper on Military-Media Relations, said: “Patriotism should override sensationalism and commercialism in the course of practising journalism.
“The responsibility of fighting security challenges in the country should not be left in the hands of the military only. The media could also help through the quality and contents of their reportage.”
The DOPRI stated that the media are veritable partners in national development and as such, “patriotism should override sensationalism and commercialism in the course of practising journalism”, he added.
Speaking further, he said the media should always work together with the military, especially now that the nation is experiencing various security challenges. “The responsibility of fighting security challenges in the country should not be left in the hands of the military only.
The media could also help through the quality and contents of their reportage”, he said.
In addition, the DOPRI said that journalists should not allow themselves to be unwittingly used as tools in the hands of insurgents to propagate fear and terror. Rather, journalists should be more conscious of their onerous responsibility as critical stakeholders in the fight against insurgency and terrorism.
Participating Defence Correspondents expressed their delight at the opportunity to attend the Workshop, which they described as being “quite informative and eye-opening”. They therefore commended the NAF leadership for deploying resources to add value to their capacity to undertake their assignments as Defence Correspondents thereby engendering professionalism.
Other Papers, apart from the DOPRI’s,, were: “NAF Hierarchy and Rank Structure Characteristics and Limitations of Air Power,”, “Aircraft Types in the NAF Inventory and Roles,” as well as “Armaments on NAF Aircraft.”
Highpoint of the workshop was the presentation of certificates to participants.
Meanwhile, the NAF has made a strong case for security awareness among the youth.
The DOPRI threw the challenge while delivering a lecture at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), as part of programmes to mark the University’s 2018 Law Week.
The 2-Star General, had contended in his lecture that, “…the relationship between law and order is direct and interwoven and cannot be separated from the other in an effort to have a near flawless society”. He further submitted that, “it might be impossible to attain a totally flawless society because respective human beings have individual choices to do either what is wrong or right”.
Notwithstanding, Adesanya charged the citizenry to make every effort towards having a “flawless society”.
CBN to engage 10,000 youths in agribusiness
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme(AADS) has kicked-off in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) with 10,000 unemployed youths as its target. Secretary For Agriculture and Rural Development, Stanley Nzekwe, disclosed this in Abaji Area Council at the flag – off of the sensitisation exercise on the implementation of the scheme.
Nzekwe stated that the flag off was meant to sensitise FCT residents towards ensuring the success of the Scheme in the FCT, Abuja.
According to him: “The Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme, AADS is a Federal Government special agricultural programme under the Central Bank of Nigeria, which is expected to focus essentially on youths, in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), targeting a minimum of 10,000 young farmers per state.”
Nzekwe said that prospective farmers must be within the ages of 18 – 35 years and must belong to cooperative organizations. Farmers will also be required to open accounts with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA).
In addition, each state is expected to identify a maximum of two commodities, where it enjoys a comparative advantage and the FCT has identified maize and cassava as the two commodities of preference.
Also speaking, Mr Shankyula Moses, the Desk Officer, FCT Development Finance Office of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) said the scheme was a departure from past intervention schemes where cash was given directly to beneficiaries, who sometimes used the money for a different purposes.
The CBN he said, would rather give all the necessary service support like seeds, fertilizer, chemicals as well as equipment.
He expressed confidence that the new arrangement would help to further ramp up domestic production of identified commodities.
Earlier, the Ona of Abaji, HRH Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa, while expressing delight over the scheme, also advised managers of the scheme to put all the necessary things in place for the scheme to succeed. He also gave his support to the mobilization of his subjects, adding that he would consult with the Area Councils towards providing the needed land
UNESCO, FCTA spend N138m to empower 418 youths in ICT
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) have spent over N138 million to empower 418 youths on Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills.
Mr Mohammed Bello, the FCT Minister said this during the graduation ceremony of 418 youths on Application Development, Networking, Hardware Repairs and Entrepreneurship through UNESCO’s YouthMobile Project Initiative in Abuja.
The project, which ran for 10 months, the graduated the trainees with the launch of its second phase aimed at training over 600 youths.
Bello, represented by Mr Christian Oha, the Permanent Secretary, said that the project “is a unique partnership venture in building capacity of the youths for job skills and entrepreneurship development.’’ He said that testimonies from participants of the first phase of the project were encouraging.
“The initiative has been efficient in tackling unemployment and building the required skills and competences in entrepreneurship. “Results from the programme have shown that the beneficiaries have unlocked their potential and are developing local applications that are ad-dressing local problems.
“The 418 participants were drawn from Bwari and Abuja Municipal Area Councils.
“The second phase has been scheduled for the southern part of the FCT – Gwagwalada, Kuje, Abaji and Kwali Area councils with 600 participants to be trained. “In all, FCTA has committed over N96.7million by way of counterpart funding to match UNESCO’s support of N42 million,” Bello said.
He urged the graduates to justify the investment toward actualising their full potential, adding that the importance of knowledge was in utilising it. Bello expressed hope that the knowledge acquired would ensure self actualisation for participants and contribute to nation building.
According to him, they will use the knowledge to build an inclusive knowledge based society by leveraging on ICT skills. “Beneficiaries have been given skills required to excel and we expect it to translate to increase youth productivity and employment.
“We hope it will also help in the promotion of peaceful coexistence among the youths and communities.”
Similarly, he commended the significant number of female participants in the programme, adding that it underscored the fact that FCTA prioritises issues on women. He used the opportunity to congratulate the female participants on the International Women’s Day, adding that their participation would facilitate a paradigm shift in gender gap within FCT industries.
The minister said the issue of youth employment was a major challenge of the government and the present administration was employing every strategy to intervene on the situation, which includes the UNESCO YouthMobile Project.
Mr Ydo Yao, the Regional Director UNESCO said over 12 per cent of participants at the programme have secured direct jobs owing to their acquired skills.
Yao said the organisation was committed in engaging the youths meaningfully to promote peace and prevent extremism. “The YouthMobile Initiative helps expand access to learning and improve its quality.
It has power to improve capacity of young ones, solve local problems and facilitate skills for more efficiency.
“The spirit of UNESCO on youth is to engage, partner youths in promoting peace, preventing violent extremism and engage them meaningfully. “Youth stand at the heart of the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development and UNESCO is working across board to support the project.”
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