Investing in girls and women is likely to prevent inter-generational cycles of poverty and yield high economic and societal returns.
–Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary-General
Women’s social and economic empowerment is very important not only in eradicating abject poverty in the country, but also, in achieving all the Millennium Development Goals objectives.
Women’s empowerment benefits not only women themselves, but the whole families and communities, like the popular saying goes:“If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation)”. So we can rightfully say if you empower a woman, the family, nation and the whole world will progress. Globally, when it comes to the issue of development indices, whether it is health, poverty, education, environment, among others, women are usually at the core centre but they bear almost all responsibility for meeting basic needs of the family, yet are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfill this responsibility.
According to EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2012 survey, 30.8 million adult female, representing about 72.8 per cent of the total adult female population in the country are unbanked. The figure is much higher in rural areas. This explains that women are still greatly disadvantaged in the country. The vast majority of the world’s poor are women.
Studies show that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. In short, communities become more resilient. However, it is heart-warming to know that someorganisations, individuals and government agencieshave demonstrated rare passion and leadership qualities in improving the welfare of women in our societies through the provisions of training programmes, microfinance services and other life-changing empowerment tools, among others.
TELL’s special report on Champions of Women Empowerment in Nigeria commends organisations and individuals that empower women to engage in income-generating activities to increase their incomes and invest in their families and communities.
Her Excellency, Hajiya Hadiza Yari, wife of Zamfara State governor is recognised for her effort towards making Zamfara State malaria free through the donations of over 2000 treated mosquito nets to women and hospitals; distributions of other life-changing empowerment tools towards improvements in the socio-economic life of women and leading initiatives on how to save northern women and children from the burdens of disease and ignorance.
Her Excellency, Chief (Mrs.) Mercy Odochi Orji, wife of the Abia State governor is recognised for her effort towards the establishment of Women Development/Skill Acquisition Centre in Abia State; activities geared towards helping indigent widows and people with disabilities and her Family Empowerment Programme, FEP.
Her Excellency, Hajia Salamatu Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, wife of the Nasarawa State governor is recognised for the achievements of her pet project,Mother and Child Care Enhancement Foundation, McCEF, which has helped to empower hundreds of women in the state.