By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Ogun State Government says it will not relent in doing the needful to encourage women to be at their best and put to good use their God-given talents for the good of the State and country at large.
Speaking at the International Women’s Day (IWD) event organized by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and the World Bank, the State’s Deputy Governor, Engr. (Mrs.) Noimot Salako-Oyedele, while acknowledging the numerous contributions of women in nation-building, said that the State was poised at facilitating market linkages for goods and services produced by women to empower and improve their standard of living.
Giving an account of the State’s experience at implementing the World Bank supported Nigeria For Women Project (NFWP), Mrs. Oyedele who is the chairman, State Steering Committee noted that the Project seeks to support improved savings and livelihoods for women in targeted areas, added that Ogun State is one of the six states currently participating in the project.
She said the State in December 2020, commenced community implementation of the NFWP with the training of ward facilitators in all the 31 benefitting Wards in the project Local Government Areas, using the ‘community Operations Manual’, where 3304 community members, comprising traditional leaders, men and women were sensitized on the difference between the NFWP and other projects.
The Deputy Governor who noted that the NFWP in the state aligned with the year 2021 International Women Day’s theme, “Women in Leadership: #Choose To Challenge”, in its implementation across the three Local Government Areas of Ijebu North East, Yewa North, and Odeda, pointed out that apart from financial skills being imparted, the project has also increased the technical skills of the Ward Facilitators
“We can proudly say that about 195 Women Affinity Groups have been formed in Ijebu-North East Local Government Area. We have 118 NFWP Women Affinity Groups in Yewa North and Odeda. Within two months, the Women Affinity Groups have N1.9m has savings and N127,780 has a social fund. 38 women group have accessed loans worth N420,00”.
“Women Affinity Group (WAG) is usually a collection of 10 to 25 women involved in a form of livelihood, who come together through a self-selection process to save money and loan from it. The data of one hundred and seventy (170) of our WAGs comprising of Two Thousand Five Hundred and One (2,501) women have been captured on our ICT driven Project management information system (PMIS)”, she explained.
The Deputy Governor disclosed that as part of the NFWP project, the State would provide a revolving grant to WAGs, particularly those who need more funds to give to members’ as loans, while women would be grouped into collectives across different trades and occupations, to help expand their businesses and increase their shares as well as help them take advantage of whatever value chain they are engaged in.
While appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the project for the benefiting States, Mrs.Oyedele also applauded Governor Dapo Abiodun for his unflinching support for Women to achieve their aspirations.