By Davies Iheamnachor
Women from the four local government areas of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State have pleaded with the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, to release loans to them to start-up businesses.
This call was following the Needs Assessment report on the Livelihood Programmes of HYPREP for women in Ogoni, which was released in Port Harcourt during an Advocacy Meeting with Legislative Leaders and Councilors in Ogoniland, organised by KEBETKACHE Women Development & Resource Centre.
The report conducted by KABETKACHE and Coalition of Ogoni Women, COW, showed that 59.1 per cent women clamoured for loans to trade, while 21.1 per cent women opted for technical skills and 11 per cent chose to delve into Agriculture.
Speaking, Dr Patience Osaro-jiji, member of COW, and leader of the research team, in her presentation before the legislative members of the four LGAs in Ogoni, noted that most Ogoni women are unaware of any livelihood programme by HYPREP.
Osaro-Ejiji said women need loans for trading as Ogoni land are polluted, adding that women prefer to learn skills and start trading.
She said: “We did assessment last year and we found out that there are other things and other aspects our women want to go, not just the normal or usual farming as we have always been known as people of Ogoni.
“If you notice yam and garri we use to have then are no more due to the impact of pollution in our environment. So we took a need assessment and found out that women just do not want to only engage in farming.
“About 59 per cent of women say they want to follow the development of the day through trading and they need loans to start trading to be like our brothers and sisters in other tribes. And only 11 per cent wanted Agriculture and they are also asking to be supported with fertilizers.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of KEBETKACHE Women Development & Resource Centre, Ms Emem Okon, noted that women in Ogoni need Loans to start-up businesses as an alternative to agriculture.