The Guardian
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Women empowerment key to poverty


TO mark the International Women’s Day, a pro-women non-governmental organisation, Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) has called for more efforts in the empowerment of Nigerian women in order to reduce poverty in the country.

Executive Director, LAPO, Mr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, made the call while speaking at a workshop to commemorate the 2015 International Women’s Day celebration in Lagos.

Speaking at the workshop with the theme: “Empowering Women and Empowering Humanity, Make it Happen,” the LAPO boss said the programme was aimed at encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women.

Ehigiamusoe said since LAPO inception in 1987, it has demonstrated unwavering commitment to poverty alleviation through the implementation of innovative credit and non-credit empowerment programmes.

“LAPO fully understands that gender relations, inequalities and economic powerlessness are fundamental causes of poverty and thus has been channeling her energy, effort and resources into processes that will promote the socio-economic status of women and creating a society that values women and their contributions to societal development.”

He added: “In 2014, LAPO built the capacity of 50,977 women to resist and confront obnoxious socio-cultural and traditional practices militating against their progress and 194,330 women were educated on health issues, causes and management of common diseases, leading to increased health consciousness and positive living amongst community members while 126,705 others, majority of whom are women, were screened for Malaria, High Blood Pressure (BP), Hepatitis, Diabetes and other ailments.”

He further stated that LAPO Microfinance Bank currently provides financial services to 1.41 million clients with women comprising 92 per cent of its clients.

Also, a woman’s right advocate, Mrs Ekene Onwuanum-Peter in her paper titled: “Women Economic Advancement: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ said the IWD was first held in Mexico in 1975.

According to her: “Each year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 all over the world with thousands of events to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women while calling for greater equality.”

Onwuanum-Peter ‎further stated that factors such as discrimination, oppression and alienation, which are hindering the socio-economic and political advancement of women, should be abolished.

On their parts, Mrs Adeniji Oluwatoyin from the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and Hajia Hussainat Dawudu, from the Ministry of Health, both commended LAPO for empowering the women in the locality.

They, however, urged the state government to collaborate with LAPO in order to give more women the opportunity to benefit from the organisation’s services.

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