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NAFOWA empowers 151 women, youths in skills acquisition

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The Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA), says another batch of 151 women and youths have graduated from its Skills Acquisition and Vocational Training Programme in Azare, Bauchi.

Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Daramola said that the training provided participants with knowledge and skills in areas such as computer studies, catering and confectioneries, hairdressing, tailoring, interior decoration, aluminium door and window fabrication as well as make-up artistry.

He said that other participants were trained in beads and accessories design, soap and cosmetics production as well as shoe and bag making.

“The skills acquisition and vocational training programme is in line with the association’s resolve to contribute its quota to the efforts of the Federal Government aimed at curbing unemployment among Nigerian youths.”

Daramola said that during the ceremony, the NAFOWA National President, Hajiya Hafsat Sadique Abubakar, appreciated the Emir of Katagum and the people of Azare for their acceptance and participation in the skills acquisition programme.

According to him, Abubakar reiterated the commitment of the association to contributing to the socio-economic well-being of women and children in the society.

The NAFOWA national president said the graduation ceremony of the 8th edition of the Skills Acquisition and Vocational Training Programme would not have been possible without the unprecedented support and encouragement the association had received from the current NAF leadership.

He said that Abubakar disclosed that the association had trained and empowered 2,000 participants across the country from May 2016 till date.

According to him, the NAFOWA president congratulated the graduating students for successfully completing the training and urged them to make good use of the skills acquired to improve their productiveness and general well-being. (NAN)

NGO drums support for women’s participation in agric value chains

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The President of Partnership for Rural Women Development in Nigeria, Hajiya Zainab Mohammed, has called on relevant stakeholders to support the participation of rural women in promotion of agriculture value chains.

Mohammed made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to commemorate the International Day of Rural Women on Monday in Abuja.

The theme for this year’s celebration is, ‘Sustainable Infrastructure, Services and Social Protection for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls’.

“Rural women make up over a quarter of the world population and majority of the 43 per cent of women in agricultural labour force in developing countries.

“Yet, they are disproportionately affected by poverty, exclusion and the effects of environmental and climate change.

“Virtually every gender and development indicator for which data are available reveals that globally, rural women fare worse than rural men and urban women,” she said.

Mohammed said lack of access to affordable and clean energy at the household level has particular implications for rural women and girls.

She said the absence of adequate sanitation facilities exposes women and girls to illness, risks to their safety and violence, hampering their ability to go to school, earn an income and move around freely.

She said rural women’s civil society organisations, enterprises and cooperatives were critical in gathering and uniting rural women and enabling them to influence the decisions and institutions that affect their lives.

“Around the world, rural women have organised to advocate for the infrastructure, services, and social protection necessary for their wellbeing, livelihoods, and resilience.

“Rural women have mobilized to secure water for irrigation and household use, and renewable energy for lighting their homes and powering small businesses.

“Rural women’s cooperatives are providing childcare services for and by their members,” Mohammed said.

NAN reports that UN International Day of Rural Women celebrates and honours the role of Rural Women Oct.15 each year.

It recognises rural women’s importance in enhancing agricultural and rural development. (NAN)

26m women may lose jobs to technology- IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its report titled “Gender, Technology and the Future Work” estimated that at least 26 million female jobs in 30 countries were at risk of being displaced by technology.

The IMF President, Ms Christine Lagarde made this known on Tuesday in a panel discussion on “Empowering Women in the Workplace” at the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia.

Lagarde said that globally, 11 per cent of women were at risk of losing their jobs due to advances in computer technology, while only four per cent of the male population faces same risk.

“Less well-educated and older female workers, aged 40 and above, as well as those in low-skill clerical, service, and sales positions are disproportionately exposed to automation.

“Extrapolating our results, we find that around 180 million female jobs are at high risk of being displaced globally.

“Therefore policies are needed to endow women with required skills, close gender gaps in leadership positions and bridge digital gender divide that could confer greater flexibility in work, benefiting women,” she said.

Also, the Indonesian Minister of Finance, Mrs Mulyani Indrawati said that adding more women into the labour force of an economy would reduce poverty and ensure prosperity.

She urged women to be role models at their places of work.

“As women, we must strive to do extraordinarily well in other to set example for the younger generation.

“We also need to ensure girls have the right role models and mentors so they can really be the ones leading the way.”

Also, the Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Mrs Vera Songwe, said that increased access to the internet would bridge women’s skill gap.

“250 million fewer women than men in 2017 had access to the internet. In Africa, 27 million fewer women access reliable and affordable internet which will help close the current digital divide.”

She said also that higher female labour force participation could boost economic growth of a country.

“Creating more and better opportunities for women to engage in paid work and a greater ability to control their income and assets can also contribute to stronger economic growth in emerging market and low-income economies,” she said. (NAN)

Lawmaker trains 10,000 youth, women in Niger

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Rep.Umar Bago, (APC-Chanchaga) said he had trained no fewer than 10,000 youths and women in various trades under the skill acquisition programme for his constituents.

Bago in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Tuesday said that about 5,500 youth were trained on such skills as electrical installation, bricklaying, carpentry/joinery and plumbing,

Other skills include pipe fitting, painting, driving, auto mechanic and POP making, motor cycle repairs, cell phone repairs, motor Mechanic among others.

He said that each of the beneficiaries was also provided with basic tools to start businesses of his own.

The Rep stated that 4,500 women were trained in cosmetics, tailoring, bead making, kitchenette, shoes and bag making, soap making and leather works, among others.

“We empowered them with takeoff grant to start business of their owned,”,he said.

Bago noted that there was the need to support women, a reason the programme was organized to make them more relevant in the society.

“What prompted my decision to organize this program is to fulfill one of my campaign promises and to thank the people for giving me the privilege to serve them.

“The present economic reality in the country necessitates the need to empower women to reduce financial burden on their husbands and to reduce youth restiveness.

“We have already succeeded in training our women on how to make varieties of soaps,’’ he added.

Bago called on the youth to shun all kinds of violence to ensure smooth implementation of the electoral process.

The lawmaker observed that it was only through peaceful atmosphere that free, fair and credible elections could be possible.

“I enjoin all stakeholders especially political class and those seeking elective positions to preach the principles of political tolerance and understanding among ourselves.

“It is only by so doing that the desire of Nigeria to conduct transparent elections will be a reality,” he concluded. ( NAN)

Conquering Kilimanjaro: Women with albinism set to scale Africa’s highest peak

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Six African women with albinism who have overcome stigma, abuse, rape and machete attacks are set to scale the continent’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, to dispel the negative perceptions surrounding people with the rare skin condition.

The novice climbers – aged between 26 and 35 years old and from Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Senegal – said their seven-day trek up the 5,895-metre (19,340-ft) summit in Tanzania was to celebrate people with albinism.

“We are tired of being told we are incapable, cursed and cannot be part of society,” said Jane Waithera, Kenyan activist and co-founder of the “Climb for Albinism” expedition, which begins on Oct. 1.

“So, here we are, six African women with albinism who have succeeded in their lives despite the odds, are climbing the continent’s biggest mountain to amplify the voices of people with albinism – and hopefully be an inspiration to others.”

Joining Waithera are Senegalese bass player Maah Koudia Keita, Nigerian optometrist Onyinye Edi, South African actress and singer Regina Mary Ndlovu, Tanzanian entrepreneur Mariamu Staford and Zimbabwean educator Nodumo Ncomanzi.

People with albinism – a lack of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes – are frequently shunned and attacked in Africa due to lack of awareness about the rare genetic condition.

In some countries, they are targeted for their body parts which are prized in witchcraft for use as lucky charms or in magic potions.

Women risk rape due to myths suggesting sex with a woman with albinism can cure AIDS.

Rising reports of ritual and witchcraft-related killings for body parts in countries such as Tanzania, Malawi and Burundi in recent years has prompted the United Nations to appoint a special expert to protect people with albinism.

The six women on the expedition have faced their own struggles growing up with albinism – some more horrific than others – and are now fighting the stigma and raising awareness about the condition.

Ten years ago, Staford had her arms hacked off by three men as she slept with her infant son.

With help from a charity and aided by prosthetics and a special machine, she started her own knitting business and is now a prominent activist in Tanzania.

“So many things have happened to me in my life, yet here I am. They cut off my arms, but not my will to survive and be something,” Staford, 35, told the media at the sidelines of a press conference.

“I want everyone to understand that people with albinism can do great things if they are given opportunities.”

The other women told stories of how they were abandoned by their parents when they were born, or how they were bullied at school, or even abused and raped because of having albinism.

Some of the women said they were unaware of what their condition was until they reached adulthood – struggling through school due to poor vision and not understanding why they could not play outside as their skin blistered so easily in the sun.

“I could never see the blackboard in class properly, but the teacher would never believe me when I told them. As a result, I couldn’t read or write until I was 25,” said Ndlovu, 29.

“My biggest wish is to leave a reference behind for others with albinism. I want young girls with albinism out there to see what we are doing and think ‘I can do this too.”

But the ascent of Kilimanjaro is not going to be easy.

As part of their training in May, the women climbed Mount Kenya which stands at 5,199 metres – but two of them had to turn back.

Elia Saikaly, film-maker and co-founder of the expedition, said the women will face near sub-zero temperatures near the top of Kilimanjaro, and the extreme altitude will make it difficult to breath – but all precautions had been taken. (Reuters/NAN)

FAO, AU advocate support for African rural women as agents of change to end hunger

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African Union (AU) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have called for greater support to rural women as agents of change to end hunger.

The agencies made the call in a report released in New York on Thursday at a joint event with the AU on the margins of the ongoing UN General Assembly.

The report said that the gender gaps in agriculture in Africa was holding back progress toward ending hunger and must be urgently addressed.

Graziano da Silva, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organisation said it had become imperative to recognise and harness the fundamental contribution of women to food security and nutrition.

According to him, to ensure adequate food security, the persisting gender gaps in agriculture in Africa must be closed.

The Director-General called for better representation of women in governance mechanisms and decision-making processes, as well as adequate and equal access to land, financial resources, social protection programmes, services and opportunities for women in rural areas.

“We need to put in place gender targeted programmes that address women’s specific vulnerabilities but also their key role in household nutrition and resilience.

“Evidence shows that when women are empowered, farms are more productive, natural resources are better managed, nutrition is improved and livelihoods are more secure,” he said.

The Director-General noted that in some African countries, women account for up to 60 per cent of the labour force in family farming.

Da Silva said that women were largely responsible for agricultural activities such as growing vegetables, preserving harvests, raising small ruminants and family nutrition through the preparation of meals.

“Closing productivity gaps could increase food production and consumption by up to 10 per cent and reduce poverty by up to 13 per cent.

“If women have the same access to skills, resources and opportunities as men, they can be powerful drivers in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

“Empowering women in agriculture, value chains and trade will accelerate the achievement of the Malabo Commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals,’’ he said.

Asa Regner, UN Women’s Deputy Executive Director, said that FAO recognised the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment within the organisation “and gender is a major priority’’.

“It is a known fact that when women have decision-making power, all of societies will benefits.’’

Regner said that the partnership between UN Women and FAO had proven especially fruitful in turning words into concrete action.

She noted that FAO and partners were providing technical support to many African countries in order to empower rural women.

“One example is the joint programme on accelerating progress toward the economic empowerment of women in Ethiopia, Liberia, Niger and Rwanda, implemented with the World Food Programme, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and UN Women.

“The programme has already enabled more than 40,000 women to receive training on improved agricultural technologies, and aims to enhance their access to financial services and markets,’’ she said. (NAN)

Insurgency: VSF partners ITF to train 5,000 women as entrepreneurs in North-East

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The Victims Support Fund (VSF), on Thursday in Abuja, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to train 5,000 women victims of insurgency as entrepreneurs.

Prof. Sunday Ochoche, Executive Director, VSF said that the partnership also aims at providing vocational skills acquisition to 1,500 out-of-school Youths in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.

“The entrepreneurship development project will target 5,000 community-based women entrepreneurs, already under the VSF Women Economic Empowerment (WEE) project that had benefited from the cash support.

“Existing savings and loans associations established in 2016 and 2017 will be scaled up into 250 small scale women producer groups.

“1,500 out-of-school youth in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe will also have their capacities built in vocational skills to increase their employability and self reliance.

“ N130 million had been earmarked for the first phase of the programme, which involves training in critical areas,” Ochoche said.

Ochoche said that after the training, starter packs would be given to the beneficiaries to commence their own businesses as second phase of the programme.

He explained that the partnership would further facilitate the restoration of livelihoods and hasten the community recovery process in the North-East.

He said the VSF was now working on addressing the root causes of the insurgency in North-east Nigeria, stressing that it has been discovered that lack of education and high poverty rate were responsible for the crisis in the area.

Ochoche said that the ITF had similar programmes presently running, adding that their technical skills will help VSF to fast-track its own programmes.

Also speaking, Mr Joseph Ari, Director-General of ITF, said the two organisations have some similar mandates, expressing readiness to work with VSF to actualize its programmes.

Ari said that the partnership between both organisations would help in addressing some of the root causes of the conflicts in the North-East.

He called on other stakeholders to join force with the VSF and ITF to solve the problems of the North-east.

The ITF boss added that improving the livelihood of the people was important as the country’s population was increasing drastically. (NAN)

The Elevation Church Made for More Women’s Conference Will Set You On Fire

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One of the fastest growing churches in Nigeria, The Elevation Church is set to hold her annual women’s conference Made for More starting on Friday, 19th October to Saturday, 20th October.

The conference themed Girl on Fire will host Jumoke Adenowo of AD Consulting Limited, she is an award-winning African architect, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

On its website, the church explained that the conference is for every woman, irrespective of status and age, both within and outside TEC, who wants to find and walk in the fullness of God’s plan in every area of her life It holds annually in the month of October.

The conference will feature an exhibition for women in business, the women in worship session will be an hour of worship led by music mistrels including Sola Allyson, Ella Vibes, Chioma Odimba, Lily Perez.

The real talk segment will also address real issues affecting the lives of women. The good news is you can also register for childcare during the conference.

You can register for the conference here

 

Redefining women’s position in politics

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On many occasions, women across the country have been demanding for more recognition in the political activities to secure key positions in governance in the country.

They observe that in spite of the adoption of 35 per cent affirmative action aimed at getting gender balance in that regard, women low participation in politics is still worrisome.

According to them, Nigeria needs to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 by involving more women in politics.

Also available record indicates that in 1999, women recorded only three per cent representation in contested offices.

In 2003, the figure rose to four per cent followed by a further improvement to six per cent in 2007 but from 1999 to date, no woman has been elected the governor of a state.

The record states that while some women contested and won elections into the Houses of Assembly in some states, the level of representation is still very low.

According to it, in 2003, there was no female member of the Houses of Assembly in Adamawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano State, Katsina State, Kebbi, Nasarawa State, Oyo State, Sokoto State, Yobe and Zamfara.

Some of the women then observe that there are some policies in politics that make women participation difficult.

For instance, Mrs Gloria Shoda, the National President, National Council of Women Societies, observed that the cost of nomination forms among political parties had been a major concern to womenfolk.

He urged political parties to reduce the cost of their nomination forms for women to enable women to participate in elections, particularly in the 2019 general elections.

“The cost of nomination forms is out of the reach of women that are interested in elective positions and only few women would be able to afford it.

“We are praying that the parties should allow women to emerge as candidates, but with this amount of money, I don’t see how women will be able to buy forms.

“How many women will be able to buy form for N45 million, it is very difficult. So I am pleading with the authorities to review this.

“I am not saying that the women should not pay at all but they should pay very little money because our pockets are lean,’’ she explained.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Nomination form costs N45 million, while that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) costs N12 million.

The APC governorship form is N22.5 million and that of the PDP for the same office costs six million.

She argued, however, that the 1999 Constitution stipulates that no political party nomination form should be more than N1million.

She also solicited a level-playing ground for greater participation of women politics, policy-making processes and political leadership and review of land and inheritance for women.

During the recent National Women Summit in Abuja, Shaoda declared that women “want to address the gender imbalances embedded in the Federal Character Commission which restricts married women from utilizing their husbands’ state of origin for contesting elections.

“We want gender quotas to improve women’s access to political power and fair representation in decision-making processes that shape our country.

“We want the right to affirmative action as an avenue to redressing the inequalities created by history, culture and tradition.

“We believe that it is time to domesticate the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the international treaty to foster equality between men and women’’

In apparent reaction to Shoda’s view, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on SDGs, said that Nigeria was committed to gender concerns.

She said during the 60th anniversary of the National Council of Women Societies that concerted efforts must be made to ensure gender equality and women empowerment at the centre stage of development.

Sharing the concerns of women in this regard, Chief Afe Babalola, a senior advocate of Nigeria and founder of Afe Babalola University, said that a lot ought to be done to give women more room for participation in politics.

“It appears that the huge and overwhelming representation of women at most political rallies has not transformed to increased opportunities for women to contest election,’’ he observed.

He observed further that women are universally acknowledged to constitute an important unit of any electoral or political demography.

He said that it is worrisome that political parties seemed to be content with letting women bear titles as women leader and deputy women leader, among other such titles.

He observed that women in Nigeria, due to decades of forced submission to outdated ideologies regarding the role of women in society, might have come to regard themselves as eternal followers in the political schemes of events.

He, nonetheless, said that increasing public discourse on the role of women in politics spurred by women themselves would stimulate their increased participation in politics.

In one of such public debates on roles of women in politics, Prof. Remi Sonaiya, a former presidential election candidate, said that women should rise above any form of discouragement and strive to make a difference in political career.

She expressed the feeling that some men believed that women in leadership positions in politics would be achieved at their own expense and they tried to bring a certain degree of resistance.

Similarly, a woman politician, Mrs Remi Adikwu-Bakare said that there was a clear lopsided membership of legislatives in favour of men and called on women to become effectively involved in politics.

At the just concluded National Women Summit, the women recalled that Rep. Edward Pwajok, had presented bills to the National Assembly in favour of the need for more women representation in political engagements in the country.

According to them, one of the bills is to amend the Electoral Act 2000 to ensure that all political parties are gender-sensitive and to eliminate all forms of discriminations in all political parties.

Another bill, according to them, is a bill to for an act to amend the Federal Character Commission to give married women the option of being indigenes of their husbands’ places of origin.

Irrespective of men’s opinions on women’s involvement in politics, Gender Advocate Blessing Okoro, in her view during the International Women’s Day, said “women have made their mark in politics, different careers and; I think women should be given equal opportunity as long as they are qualified.’’(NANFeatures)

Centre trains 80 Plateau women as change agents

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Photo Credit: Business Day

An NGO, Centre for Advocacy of Justice and Right (CAJR) and International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), are training 80 women in Plateau to become change agents in their various communities.

The two-day training, holding in Jos, is being supported by Women for Women International (WFWI).

Miss Etty Peter, CAJR Programme Manager, said the training was aimed at equipping women with adequate knowledge and skills that would enable them change the society for the better.

“We are training these women on effective communication, advocacy and economic empowerment to enable them become agents of change in their various communities.

“It will enable them identify problems that affect women in their communities and provide possible solutions.

“We are also training them on various skills so as to make them economically independent,” she said.

Mrs. Zainab Gbobaniyi, WFWI Advocacy Coordinator, said the participants were mostly the socially excluded women in the society.

She said that the training was also aimed at equipping the women with requisite knowledge that would change some cultural norms that infringed on their rights.

“This training, which is also known as structural advocacy, is to teach women on how to advocate for their rights in the society.

“It will also enable them end some cultural practices that hitherto infringed on their rights through advocacy and effective communication,” she said.
The advocacy coordinator said that the project was being funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day training had participants from Pankshin, Riyom and Jos East local government areas of the state. (NAN)

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