Abia State Government Pledges To Sustain And Advance Livelihood Of Women In The State.

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The Abia State Government has assured Abia women of continuous support in improving their livelihood.

Deputy Governor Emetu gave the word of honour during the first Abia State Steering Committee Meeting of Nigeria for Women Project for the year 2024 held at Government House, Umuahia.

He described women as “custodians of a successful home” and called for concerted efforts to guarantee the economic development of all women. Emetu, who doubles as the Chairman of the committee pledged the total commitment of the committee to uplifting the wellbeing of Abia Women.

He called for improved monitoring and evaluation component of the project to track its progress and achieve greater results.

In her keynote address, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Ngozi Blessing Felix, said that “the objective of the project is to support the improved livelihood of women in six targeted states of Nigeria; Abia, Taraba, Akwa Ibom, Niger, Ogun, and Kebbi, representing the Geo-political zones. In Abia State, the project is implemented in 3 Local Government Areas; Ohafia, Isialangwa North, and Obingwa”.

She outlined the four components of the project to include; “Building Social Capital, Livelihoods Program, Innovations and Partnerships, and Monitoring and Evaluation”. She stated that women were mobilized into Women Affinity Groups (WAGs) where they save and loan money to each other. A total of 3,657 WAGs were formed with a total number of 75,336 beneficiaries.

She identified cassava and oil palm processing as the two value chains where the beneficiaries were mobilized into sixty collectives with over 70% recipients of individual Livelihood Grants of N60,000 each to start businesses or expand existing ones. All thanks to Governor Alex Chioma Otti, OFR, and his wife, Mrs. Priscilla Chidinma Otti who graciously paid the counterpart funds of the current phase to qualify for the scale-up phase.

Reacting to the progress report presented by the State Project Coordinator, Mrs. Chinenye Amos Uhegbu, the Mayors of Ohafia and Obingwa LGAs, Chief David Ogba (Bourdex) and Dr. Eric Egwuibe respectively, called for collaboration between the Project Focal Persons and Mayors of local councils for support and improved women participation to enhance their livelihood.

In her vote of thanks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs.Oguama Ogechi Becky, appreciated Governor Alex Chioma Otti, OFR, for his commitment to improving the livelihood of Abia women and pledged the committee’s determination to work assiduously for the success of the project.

Also present at the meeting were; the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Mike Akpara, Representative of the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Amara Obi-Ekpebegh, Representative of the President, Umuahia Chamber of Commerce, and other stakeholders.