The wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Her Excellency, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano, has applauded the role of the family in the empowerment of women and youths, saying that the family is critical to improving the capacity of the individual.
Mrs. Obiano drew this conclusion in a speech at the Women Empowered to Achieve The impossible (WETATi) USA & WETATi iNTERNATIONAL Youth Empowerment Conference held in partnership with University of Lagos (UNILAG) at the weekend.
Mrs. Obiano, the founder and promoter of Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE), and Keynote Speaker at the conference who was represented by the Special Assistant, Media to the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Emeka Ozumba, dwelt on The Family as the Bedrock for Sustaining the Empowerment of Youths and Women, even as she affirmed that women, children and youths are major building blocks of the family.
According to her, “There is no doubt that the nurturing and supporting role of the family can enhance the social and economic empowerment of women, children and youths. Family linkage helps in the learning of new skills, mentorship, and even the protection of the vulnerable. However, persistent poverty and other deprivations create strains that can distort this social arrangement leading to the breakdown of the family. Thus women are left carrying the family burden; children are deprived of stable formative years, and the youths are exposed without mentorship.”
She further emphasized that “any society which must get it right must get the family unit right to ensure that the family continues to play its important role as the bedrock for sustainable empowerment; basic values must be implanted in the individual early in life. These include respect for the individual, patience, tolerance, hard work, faith in God, and the basic social etiquettes. These are the foundation on which other empowerment initiatives can rest for a person to be productive and add to the progress and growth of the society.”
She also noted that, over the years however, there has been a steady erosion of values arising from embracing the ills of globalisation, pointing out that it could be seen from the public conduct of the jet-age to the baby-boomers and now the millennial whose worldview is defined by the yearning for excessive freedom, leading to the discard of basic morals and pursuit of the thrills of modernisation. She raised a fundamental question on how these challenges can be overcome since it is clear the government cannot do it alone and therefore recommended intervention by civil societies and organizations and willing partnerships like WETATi and CAFÉ.
Using her NGO, CAFÉ as a case study, she highlighted various empowerment programmes aimed at uplifting the fortunes of both skilled and non-skilled indigent women and widows across Anambra State. Since 2014, more than 945 skilled and 567 unskilled persons were provided equipment like blenders, hair dryers and garri processing machines and seed money to start their own business. Also another 500 women were trained in Tailoring, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, Soap Making, Confectionaries and Training for Community Health Services. In the same vein, youths are trained in agriculture and fish farming in collaboration with the Anambra State College of Agriculture, Ngbakwu.
Also to reduce child and maternal mortality rate and alleviate difficulties of managing women in remote communities, CAFÉ trains rural health workers and identifies midwives who are provided with fabricated motorbikes with baby cot and cellular phones to reach and manage child delivery in emergency situations. The NGO also collaborates with experts to treat congenital deformity of cleft lip and cleft palate with free surgeries to 150 children; 600 persons have received free artificial limbs, while a home was set up to treat the mentally challenged persons.
The President and Founder of WETATi, Dr. Margaret Dureke, also praised the commitment of the wife of the Governor to issues of empowerment through CAFÉ which she noted has really achieved a lot within a short span, stressing that she had never met her, but was inspired by her noble works of charity and empowerment programes. She attested that WETATi is encouraged by the support of people like Mrs. Obiano and pledged to carry the crusade beyond the shores of Nigeria to the United States of America where the idea of WETATi was born.
Other dignitaries in attendance were the wife of the Governor of Lagos State, represented by Mrs. Adeyinka Abiru, member Representing Oshodi/Isolo II Constituency in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Sir Jude Idimogu and over two hundred youths, among others.