‘Imbibe entrepreneurship spirit, pursue empowerment’
Activists have encouraged widows to not only imbibe entrepreneurship spirit but also pursue empowerment opportunities that would make them gainfully employed.
This, among other issues, made up the thrust of the Stakeholders Widowhood Rights Programme organised by the Rose of Sharon Foundation, which had in attendance representatives of the Executive Chairman and House member, Oshodi/Isolo Councils, officials, Head of Departments (HODs) of women affairs, agric and social development, women leaders, widows, school administrators, Civil Society Organisations, lawyers, religious, traditional and community leaders.
Speaking, Country Manager, RoSF, Dr. Ndudi Bowei, said it has become imperative to focus on advocacy and capacity-building programme bordering on sensitisation and information dialogue on the challenges of widows and widowhood rights.
She raised awareness about cultural issues, gender norms, inheritance rights and legal protection for widows. She harped on collaboration as stakeholders to change the narrative to achieve behavioural change as well as discourage practices that devastate and discriminate against widows.
Recounting their traumatic and dehumanising experiences, two widows, Jacinta Ekwonye and Blessing Ogwudu, called on the community and the government to provide specific social protection and fair practices for widows.
Vice chairman, FIDA, Abimbola Jack Oladugba, enlightened stakeholders on existing laws (such as the Nigerian Constitution and VAPP Act of 2015) that protect widows, teaching them how to seek legal processes in the event of discrimination, maltreatment and violation of their rights.
She said over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s cultural practices aimed at widows are barbaric and repugnant to social justice and Nigerians should confront them rather than fold their hands and expect them to go away.
Olori Jaiyeola of Serendipity House of Widows called on the widows to imbibe business and entrepreneurial spirit, rather than wallow in pity; urging them to think inwards rather than expecting handouts from others all the time.
Chairman, Ogunoloko Community Development Association, Oladipupo John, challenged men to develop their spouses, as this will be beneficial not only to the family but the nation as a whole. At the end of proceedings, stakeholders signed a commitment to take action in their communities and space of influence to protect as well as promote the rights of widows.
Other stakeholders at the programme, included Iyalode Chief Wosilat Onilude from the Palace of the Elewu of Ewuland, HOD Ministry of Women Affairs, Siji Odekunle, representatives of the Oshodi/Isolo local council.