By Oluwatope Lawanson
Lagos, August 11, 2020 Lagos State Government on Tuesday empowered 1,100 women and indigent people of the state with work tools for economic independence and self-sufficiency.
Our correspondent reports that the work tools were presented to beneficiaries during the 2020 Mega Empowerment programme held at the Skills Acquisition and Vocational Training Centre, Isheri, Lagos.
NAN reports that the Mega Empowerment Scheme is an initiative of Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA).
The work tools, which were distributed across the five administrative divisions of the state, comprised of sewing machines, pepper grinders, pop corn machines, hair dryers, barbing sets, generators and other essentials
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said that lifestyle and welfare of majority of the people, including children, had been negatively impacted by the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, most affected are people in the informal sector who have had to comply with “Lockdown” regulations with its attendant effects on economic activities.
“Women, as we all know, constitute a significant percentage of this group.
“Today is a significant step forward as we continue to deliver palliatives for the economic empowerment of the most vulnerable and indigent residents across the five administrative divisions of Lagos State.
“Our administration is providing economic support for 1,1000 vulnerable women and indigent residents whose livelihoods have been decimated by the effects of the pandemic in the last few weeks and help them get back to their feet and provide for their families.
“These items will enable the beneficiaries leverage on the various skills acquired and other vocational training support which have been offered to guide them in the transition period of post COVlD-l9 pandemic towards adjusting to a life in a “new normal” situation,” he said
Sanwo-Olu assured that the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund would continue to be empowered so that its efforts could be more impactful, especially in alleviating the effects of poverty in the society.
He said that this would be achieved through the provision of critical financial and other support that would enable a significant number of the youths, including unemployed graduates, vulnerable women and pensioners, fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams.
The governor said that the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation would continue to be supported so as to ensure that skill acquisition centres have what it takes to meet the yearnings of the target population.
“We will also not relent in developing strategies that will ensure the economic empowerment and social integration of our people into the wealth basket,” he said
Sanwo-Olu enjoined residents to continue to support the administration by complying with established safety protocol even as social restrictions was gradually being lifted.
“l urge you the beneficiaries to utilise the opportunity offered to you judiciously for the benefit of your families and the larger society.
“We will continue to sustain this programme so that the benefits and impact can be spread to as many people as are in need,” he said.
Mrs Cecilia Dada, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, in her address of welcome, said that the programme was meant to take care of the needs of vulnerable women and indigent residents in all the 20 local government councils and 37 local council development areas in the state
According to the commissioner, women have a crucial role to play in shaping the society at the social, economic and political level.
Dada noted that the empowerment of women was central to all initiatives to achieve sustainable economic and social development.
She added that the mega empowerment programme targeted 20,000 beneficiaries and so far a total of 17,752 had been empowered.
She stressed that before the end of the year the ministry hoped to exceed its target of 20,000.
“The ministry through its short and long term vocational training programmes had continued to train thousands of Lagosians, particularly women, on different skills.
“The beneficiaries of the training were provided with startup kits such as sewing machines, hair dressing tools among others.
“Consequently, the provision of these starts up tools has aided beneficiaries in becoming self-employed, self-reliant and employers of labour ultimately elevating their standard of living which was all done free of charge,” she said
Dada assured that the ministry would continue to initiate, embark and sustain programmes and activities in order to raise the standard of living of women and all others in the state.
She reiterated that government would not relent in its efforts to improve the lifestyle and status of womenfolk in the state irrespective of social, political or religious affiliations.
Dada also solicited the support of both local and international organisations, non governmental organisations, corporate bodies and individual members of the public to collaborate with the government in embarking on programmes that would make life more meaningful for women in the state.
In her goodwill message, Mrs Folashade Jaji, the Secretary to the state government, advised the beneficiaries not to sell their work tools.
Jaji urged them to make the items given to them to be useful for themselves and turn it over for their betterment.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Peace Akande, appreciated the state government for empowering them with work tools while promising to make judicious use of the tools.
“We want to appreciate our governor for empowering us with skills and for the equipment given to us.
“We promise that the skills will be used to better ourselves, people around us and the state at large,” she added.