By Prudence Eboagwu-Ijah
The need for Local government councilors to be held more accountable has been reinstated as a means of ensuring empowerment for indigent women in rural communities.
Angela Ajala, a member of the board of Trustees, Business and Professional Women who stated this in Abuja at a meeting to empower Women, said local government councilors have failed to be accountable thereby increasing the level of unemployment amongst young women and girls at the grassroot.
“Local government councillors are the communities with the women at the grasstoot and they need to tell us what they are doing to support women, and when they fail, we must begin to name and shame them as a means of making them sit up.”
Ajala who is one of the Mentors at the initiative to empower 30 women as organised by Vaccine Network for Disease Control (VNDC) in partnership with Business and Professional Women stated that the mentoring program will be for at least one year with regular interface with the women to ensure the successful start up and growth of their businesses.
“We are doing this to give these indigent women hope, and make them know they can be successful in life with the right attitude and mindset. These women were carefully selected, some of them have tried to commit suicide. We have brought different women who are successful in different areas to mentor these women and make them have a change in orientation and mindset. Each successful business woman is to mentor 5 women.”
In her address, the Chief Executive Officer of Vaccine Network for Disease Control Chika Offor while showcasing pictures of Nigerian Women who despite challenges they faced have risen to impact their world urged the women not to loose hope despite being displaced and grappling with poverty and unemployment.
“We realised that some of the community women that we empowered before COVID-19 set in lost their businesses, and some of them even sold their children because of the height of poverty. So we got a grant to provide financial support to these women and also support them mentally.” offor said.
According to Offor, some of these women beneficiaries are hair dressers, fashion designers, caterers, bricklayers, small scale business women and women who wish to start up a business but lack the resources to.
She however urged women not to work alone, hence the need for every woman in business and other field to support and mentor another woman.”
Offor further advised women to form a cooperative and support each other, this will help women build formidable businesses and systems that work, and also work together to achieve their general and individual goals and vision.
Earlier, another Mentor, Halima Bagudu who is a successful business owner harped on the importance of inspiring these indigent women who wish to practice same career as their mentors, she urged the mentors to offer guidance and mentorship to these women for their lives to become better.
“The target for today’s programme was for these women to see physically their mentors and to interact with them, so they can understand that whatever is achieved by these mentors are real and they can also achieve them” Halima stated.
In her remarks, the director Gender Development, Social Development Secretariat, Grace Adayilo said the program is to encourage entrepreneurship and to groom more women to start up businesses from where they are.
“The mandate of the SDS is to ensure that women become useful to themselves, family and society. Its important for women to invest their energy in productive things as well as provide support for other women”.
Some of the beneficiaries, while recounting their challenges and why they needed the empowerment package opined that their courage have been boosted and they are willing to give their best shot in business and their various endeavors.