Citizens Health Education and Development Initiative (CHEDI), an NGO, on Thursday empowered 100 vulnerable women and girls with grinding machines, as part of its strategy to end poverty in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Nasarawa .
The Executive Director of the NGO, Mrs Selina Enyiola, while presenting the machines to the beneficiaries at the Government Secondary School, Wuse, Zone III, Abuja, said the empowerment would reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable women.
“I welcome you all to this important event for the economic empowerment of 100 special women and girls from the FCT and Nasarawa State.
“I call them special because it is not easy to fish out these 100 people from among millions of women and girls that required assistance in Nigeria today.
“About this time last year, we also empowered 60 vulnerable women from the six FCT Area Councils from funds provided by some World Bank staff.
“We all know that with the economic situation we face in the country now, compounded by COVID-19 pandemic and worsened by insecurity, banditry, kidnapping, rape and other vices, everyone is now in need and qualifies tor some form of empowerment,” she said.
Enyiola said that based on the community needs assessment conducted by the NGO in some of the communities in the area councils, most of the women interviewed requested to be empowered with grinding machines which they could operate at home or close to their homes.
“They said many of them were scared of venturing to their farms for fear of being kidnapped, raped or at times, killed.
“Some of them, who are the bread winners of their families, could no longer afford feeding their children, sending them to school or paying hospital bills, hence they needed an alternative means of livelihood.
“Similarly, in the course of monitoring our previous projects in the communities, more women requested to be empowered with petrol-operated grinding machines mainly for the same reasons.
“Consequently, we put their requests to our sponsors and pleaded if they could have their kindness extended to Nasarawa State, which they graciously approved and today we are empowering 49 vulnerable women from Nasarawa State and 51 from the FCT,” she said.
The executive director expressed gratitude to the NGO, the World Bank staff, for accepting the idea of empowering the vulnerable women with petrol- operated grinding machines.
“To the women beneficiaries, we have spoken to you about collective savings (Esusu),which will help you to make some savings to ensure that you maintain the grinding machines and have some leftovers for other needs,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Ms Comfort Egemonu, thanked the organisation for empowering them with a means of livelihood.
“We are extremely happy with the gesture extended to us by the Citizens Health Education and Development Initiative (CHEDI). It will go a long way to provide us with sustainable means of livelihood,“ she said.