Enugu: The Commissioner for Budget and Planning in Enugu State, Dr David Ugwunta, has urged women groups to key-in and follow-up various government economic empowerment programmes in Enugu State.
Ugwunta made the call during a Policy Dialogue Session on Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) by the Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED) in Enugu on Friday.
The PAWED project is funded by the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) and implemented by South Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSDO) in Anambra and Enugu States.
He also urged women groups to work collectively by creating new economic empowerment programmes or adopting any one already working in other states and engage relevant ministries with it and follow it up.
“With serious and continuous engagements and ensuring follow-ups in the relevant ministries, I believe that women groups and women-based civil society groups can get a fair share of economic empowerment programmes to benefit the poorest of rural women that indeed need it.
“We have the ongoing state’s Traders Empowerment Scheme; Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support (APPEALS); the Artisan Support Fund and the IT Support Fund and more.
“These empowerment programmmes if tapped into and harnessed would go a long way to further achieve the objective of our gathering here today, which is giving empowerment to vast majority of economic disadvantage poor women.
“It is believed that women economic empowerment is strategic; since a woman is economically empowered, her entire immediate family is carried along. So, if we get it right starting with the women, families are taken care of,” he said.
The commissioner noted that the state government was committed to ensuring that all economic empowerment programmes targeted at women especially at the rural areas are fully implemented and most times it is carried out during their annual August Meetings.
He, however, laudedthe dRPC and the SSDO for fighting hard and organising women groups to support and push the general economic empowerment of women especially the poor in rural areas.
Speaking, Prof. Anthonia Achike, Director, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) Gender and Development Centre, stressed the need for robust advocacy visits and engagements with relevant ministries especially that of Gender and Social Affairs as well as Trade and Investment.
Achike commended the commissioner for giving the participants and women broader view on how to go about seeking and ensuring that economic empowerment gets to women in the state and by extension the entire South-East.
“We are ignited by the support and ideas of the commissioner and for me it is type of actionable steps we need to take to get the needed positive results that will work for the generality of our rural poor women,” she said.
Ms Nkem Awachie, Programme Manager, Good Governance of SSDO, said despite facing unique challenges due to gender-based discrimination, women in South-East steadily work towards economic empowerment for themselves and their families.
Awachie noted that hence the PAWED project was formed to strengthen the capacity of women’s economic collectives in Enugu and Anambra States to be able to conduct high impact evidence-informed advocacy to improve livelihood of economically active women and girls.
The dialogue was attended by women-focused civil society organizations (Women’s Economic Empowerment Cooperatives); representatives from relevant government ministries, media representatives and representatives from the UNN Gender and Development Centre. (Flowerbudnews)