A 10-member Committee on the ‘Nigeria for Women Project’ has been charged to change existing negative narratives about women and the girl child in the society.
Inaugurating the Committee in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Abiola Kufile-Okonji, noted that substantive gender equality in Nigeria requires fundamental transformation of the economic and social institutions that would change the beliefs and norms at every level of the society.
Mrs. Kufile-Okonji, said about 54 percent of Nigerian population still live in poverty, despite strong economic growth, adding that government was determined to develop social protection instruments, to tackle high rate of poverty and vulnerability in the country.
While commending the resourcefulness of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development at getting the World Bank support for the women project, and its consequent approval by the Federal Executive Council in December 2018, the Commissioner appreciated the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, for the issuance of Letter of Commitment for the project to commence.
“Substantive gender equality in Nigeria requires fundamental transformation of economic and social institutions, including beliefs, norms and attitudes that shape them. It was against these varying problems impacting negatively on the women that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development put forward a request to the World Bank to support improved livelihood of women in targeted areas of Nigeria.
“The acceptance of this project by Ogun State government, will no doubt, create a greater turning point for active women in the rural areas of the state”, she noted.
While acknowledging the support of the State government in the selection process, the Director, Social Welfare Services, Mr. Olurotimi Sotubo, noted that the State was lucky to be one of the first six states to pioneer the project, reiterating the Ministry’s readiness to support the Committee in achieving its set target.
Earlier, the State Coordinator of the project, Mrs. Bolanle Fadairo, explained that it was designed to care for rural women through four techniques which included; building social capital livelihood programmes, innovation, partnership and project monitoring, evaluation and learning.
She added that the first phase would involve 54,000 women at the State level, where the three benefiting Local Government Areas, which are; Odeda, Yewa North and Ijebu North-East would have 18,000 women each.
Members of the Committee, to be headed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, were drawn from line Ministries including; Ministries of Agriculture, Rural Development, Commerce and Industry, Community Development, among others.