By Gabriel Ewepu
MAIDUGURI- AN international humanitarian organisation, ActionAid Nigeria, at the weekend, presented 100 North-East women in the country with empowerment start-up kits in different micro and small businesses.
The benefiting women are from worst hit local government areas of Monguno, Mobar and Balge in Borno State; Madagali and Gulak in Adamawa State; and Buni Yadi and Gujuba in Yobe State, after they were trained for six months by ActionAid Nigeria. The programme was sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA.
In her address, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi, represented by the Director of Programmes, ActionAid, Tasallah Chibok, said the training and handing over of start-up kits to the beneficiaries was part of the organisation’s effort to assist the Federal Government in the reintegration process in the North-East region.
According to her, the women were trained in various skills of their choice in order for them to be productive when they start their businesses and support their families. They were trained in tailoring, local noodle production and soybean cake-making, and the start-up kits include sewing machines and accessories, 50kg bags of flour, local noodle making machines, 10kg bags of soybean, local stoves and utensils, and knitting tools.
She also commended the UNPFA, the state and local governments for their support in the three states the training was done in the North-East region.
She said: “These 100 women were selected from communities in local government areas of Monguno, Mobar and Balge in Borno State; Madagali and Gulak in Adamawa State; and Buni Yadi and Gujuba in Yobe State that were worse hit by Boko Haram insurgency and trained on different skills of their choice based on the budget provision and available resources.
“This is aimed at making them independent, and giving them a source of income to support their families, send their children and wards to school, which in the long run, will contribute to countering extremism and empowering them. They were trained in tailoring, local noodle making and soybean cake-making.
“These are part of the 100 women trained across the three states of the North-East states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. Twenty women each were trained in Adamawa and Yobe, while 60 were trained in Borno.
“We are giving them start-up kits comprising of a sewing machine each to the women who learned tailoring, a 50kg bag of flour and local noodle-making machine each to the women who learned how to make noodles, and a 10kg bag of soybean, local stove and utensils for soybean cake-making.”
She also charged the women to make good use of the kits for their financial and economic wellbeing including those of their families, “And this will greatly support reintegration processes and complement the good work government has been doing to ensure communities are safe for people to return,” she stated.
Similarly, the Head of Health and Governance Programme, ActionAid Nigeria, Ipoade Omilaju, commended the women for their courage to come out boldly to be trained despite the challenges of insurgency in their communities and local government areas and also charged them to make good use of the start-up kits to create wealth for themselves and family.
Some of the beneficiaries shared their experience and appreciated the effort of ActionAid for adding value to their lives and giving them hope, and also asked for more of such training and empowerment.
A beneficiary from Balge Local Government Area of Borno State, Mrs Hauwa Bukar said: “I am elated with the training I received on fashion and designing, and these empowerment kits given to us by ActionAid just six months after engaging us, gives us a sense of belonging and will help us create wealth for ourselves and family. I appreciate ActionAid sincerely and promise to utilise the start-up kit maximally.”
In her words, a beneficiary from Mobar Local Government Area of Borno State, Mariam Ballama said: “I was trained on producing soybean cake, also called Awara and today, I am receiving the start-up kit to kick off my soybean cake business. I chose to do it because people buy it more than beancake, and it is lucrative. I will use the profit to take care of my family and also expand the business. I thank ActionAid immensely for the opportunity.”