Governor Ikpeazu’s Government Is On The March To Improve Socio- Economic Well Being Of Abia Women

Abia State Government has restated that it would always collaborate with World Bank assisted and Federal Government programmes that are designed to improve the socio-economic well-being and livelihood of Abia women.

The Deputy Governor of Abia State, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, made this public during media roundtable organised by Nigeria for Women Project’s ( NFWP) Behaviour Change Communication Firm Arise Concept Nigeria Limited, in Umuahia.

The Deputy Governor disclosed that Abia State Government wasted no time to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as well as pay its counter- part funds, in a bid to ensure that the life-transforming programme hits the ground running in the state.

He announced that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu led administration has not only released the sum of N50 million counter-part fund but has gone ahead to approve the release of additional N100 million to escalate the project beyond the initial 3 pilot Local Government Areas to all the LGA’S in the state.

Sir Ude Oko Chukwu used the platform to commend Abia State NFWP for working round the clock to exceed the earmarked 540,000 World Bank beneficiary target in the 3 pilot LGA’S .

Earlier in her welcome address, Abia State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Deaconess Nna Rose Urenta reinforced that the media interface was put together to address ” key social and cultural constraints towards women empowerment and communicating messages that will create an enabling environment that would encourage and support women’s social and economic empowerment ” in the state.

She reiterated that NFWP was created to champion the cause of women with a view to bringing out the best in them, adding that NFWP is being implemented in the state to propel and help women to ” look inwards for solutions to financial challenges” as well as ” maximise available resources for better life ” for Abia women.

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She disclosed that the innovative programme has put smiles on the faces of women as well as prepared them to become a unifying force that are bonding together in the spint of self-esteem and boldness as well as inculcating in women the culture of savings.

Abia State Commissioner for Women Affairs eulogised Governor Ikpeazu who has shown uncommon kindness to Abia women by encouraging robust training for them, stressing that a well trained “woman is worthwhile venture that will reap off to training a state or nation”.

She used the occasion to appeal to media industry in the state to publicize the activities of NFWP within and beyond the shores of God’s Own State.

Fielding questions to news men, Abia State Project Coordinator of NFWP, Mrs Georgina Mma Agbagha graphically presented what the body has been doing since it came on board on May 27, 2019, emphasizing that NFWP is being implemented in 3 pilot LGA’S in the state, namely Obingwa, Isiala Ngwa North and Ohafia LGA, each representing the 3 senatorial zones in the state.

On implementing modalities, she revealed that NFWP is “coordinated by the state steering committee headed by the Deputy Governor of Abia State, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu and a state technical Committee led by the Ag Permanent Secretary, Abia State Ministry of Women Affairs, Rev (Mrs) Jane Omereonye.

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She explained that it is their duty to guide women to organise themselves into Women Affinity Groups ( WAGs ) in all benefitting communities, noting that women aged 18 years and above usually self-select themselves to form WAG members. Adding that 3,600 WAGs are permitted per state and 54,000 women are earmarked to benefit from the grant facilities before the end of the project in 2023.

Mrs Agbagha pointed out that 178 communities are currently benefitting from NFWP, revealing that WAGs in Abia State have generated over N1.9 million as loan funds from savings contributed at weekly meetings and other administrative charges and fines”.

On a cheering note, Abia State Project Coordinator of NFWP, announced that ” a total of 6,475 beneficiaries have received grant of N60,000 each, reiterating that the grant has gone a long way” to boost their livelihoods, support household income and expenditure”.

Mrs Agbagha announced that Abia State NFWP has received a letter of commendation from the World Bank Task team for being alive to their duties to the extent of forming 2000 WAGs in 2021.

She equally said, that over 62,000 women have received trainings; on Financial education, business skills, saving and credit skills as well as Gender and life skills.

Abia State Coordinator of NFWP said that her team has painstakingly identified and inaugurated 70 champions that would further facilitate the dissemination of Behaviour Change Communication that would reinforce the strategic position of women in the socio-economic health of every household and polity in God’s Own State.

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Mrs Mma Agbagha observed that the project faces challenges of insecurity, discrepancy of names of some WAG members on their bank account details, etc stressing however that their next line of action is to ensure that every WAG member receives her grant before the end of the project.

The Team Leader Arises Concept Nigeria Limited, NFWP Behaviour Change Communication Firm, Bankole Ebisemiju, reiterated that the media has a critical role to play to ensure the success of NFWP, hence the media engagement.

He urged the media practitioners in the state to positively propagate and champion the cause of women, as NFWP is designed to uplift the socio-economic well being of Abia women.

Comrade John Emejor
State Director of Information, Umuahia.