By Emeka Ozumba : The wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano has identified the creation of entrepreneurship venture opportunities as the panacea to the challenges of sustainable empowerment of rural women.
The governors’ wife made the assertion recently in a presentation titled ‘Opportunities for Entrepreneurship for Rural Women,’ at the Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON) Side Event at the 61st Session of the United Nation’s Commission for the Status of Women (CSW) held, in New York, United States of America.
Mrs. Obiano who made the presentation as the founder of Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), a leading Non-Governmental Organization, asserted that “When you take away economy power from the woman, you take away her gender power”. She argued that modern society by its very nature has unwittingly denied the rural woman economic power with the absence of an economic growth vehicle which created an economic gulf between the womenfolk and the men counterpart. A situation she noted worsened under a weak Nigerian economy long before the recession set-in with the rural women at the vanguard of those most affected and traumatized.
She painted a picture of the post-civil war Nigeria society and the global oil boom which created more attractions in the cities and neglected the rural communities. The outcome was the migration of young men in search of greener pastures, and preference for male education with the females abandoned to a fate of waiting to be married often without commensurate training and skills to escaping poverty in the household, she added.
“To increase opportunities for them as entrepreneurs, we need to promote collaboration and opportunities for their empowerment by creating more openings for their financial inclusion, promote information sharing and positive exchanges between NGO’s on capacity building and opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and devising of transparent funding mechanism and support for NGO’s like CAFÉ with track record of outreach to women in hard-to-reach communities’’.
Mrs. Obiano commended the enterprising spirit of the rural women under the umbrella of Otu Umunwanyi which was examplified in her stroy about the Ezikedike family women of Ukpor.
She noted that the CAFÉ initiative has trained and empowered over 2500 women in the following areas: Tailoring and Fashion design, Soap making, Bakery and Confectionery, Hair dressing and Beauty Therapy among others.
Mrs Obiano further pointed out that CAFÉ initiative has helped women to leverage opportunities offered by the Central bank of Nigeria and Anambra state government’s micro credit loan managed by the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA).
At the presentation were: The Hon. Commissioner for Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs, Dr. Victoria Chikwelu, some members of the Women of the New York Diplomatic Community, Promoters of women groups international NGOs and an Octogenarian, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Society and Diplomatic Review, Gloria Starr.