Women development and poverty alleviation in Lagos
Sir: Taking into account its cosmopolitan nature as well as its dynamic economic and commercial status, Lagos State has the largest mixtures of women in the country. At the inception of his administration in Lagos State, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode pledged to run an inclusive government in which no one or any segment will be left behind. It is in fulfillment of this sacred pledge that the State Government has intensified efforts to make sure that the right of every woman, irrespective of sex, tribe and religious affiliations is not in any way trampled upon in the State. In a bid to improve the living standard of women in the State, the State Government through the Ministry of Women Development and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), has embarked upon a variety of empowerment programmes aimed at advancing the potentials of women to earn a decent living. The ultimate goal is to make them economically secure. Recently, over 3200 women and men including widows, vulnerable women, graduates of skill acquisition centres and senior citizens were also empowered through the State Government mega empowerment programme.
Similarly, in furtherance of one of the guiding principles of the Akinwunmi Ambode Administration, which is job creation, the State Government, through the various Skill Acquisition Centres, which are under the supervision of WAPA, has in the last two years organised regular short term Skill Acquisition Programme in various Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas. These programmes were conducted at different Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas.
In order to expose the students to practical knowledge in relevant industries, students in Welding Fabrication, Refrigerator/Air conditioner Maintenance and Repair, Vulcanising/Wheel Balancing and Alignment, Catering and Hotel Management, were placed on three months compulsory Industrial Training programme with Julius Berger Plc, Eko Hotel and Suites, Kots Catering, Lagos Airport Hotel, among others. The total number of students that graduated from the Ministry’s SACs in the Year 2016 was 6,105. Presently; over 6,000 students are undergoing various training programmes in many centres across the state.
Similarly, in conformity with the saying that a wealthy nation is a healthy nation, the State Government has done much to improve the medical well-being of women in the State. This is because better health is central to human happiness and well-being. Healthy population makes an important contribution to economic progress, as healthy populations live longer, are more productive, and save more. Hence, in collaboration with several stakeholders, the State Government has conducted vital health screenings for women across the State.
The State Government has equally supported womenfolk in the State in the area of tackling Gender-Based Violence.
In Lagos, the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) has been inaugurated and it is saddled with the responsibility of rescuing and rehabilitating victims of domestic violence. Also, the State Government has launched the State’s Guidelines Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. It is called the Domestic Violence Protocol for Responder Agencies and it is aimed at providing guidelines and establishing standards for relevant agencies.
Considering current state of the country’s economy and its subsequent effects on food security, the state government is also offering training programmes for women who desire to engage in agriculture related ventures. Through this, they would not only be able to feed their respective families, but also be able to create wealth. Vital areas where the women were trained include agro processing, fishery, snail and grass cutter rearing. Others are cultivation of arable crops such as cassava, maize, leafy and fruit vegetables that serves as demonstration plots for Agricultural trainees. The promotion of the formation of cooperative societies among female farmers in the State was also encouraged. The goal is to ensure they benefit from Federal and State Government agricultural interventions initiatives.
• Femi Ogun is of the Press Affairs Unit, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Alausa, Ikeja.