Home Disability News N-Build: When pregnant women, girls, PWDs, take to carpentry, mechanic, others

N-Build: When pregnant women, girls, PWDs, take to carpentry, mechanic, others

by Inclusive News Network

Pregnant women, young girls, people with disabilities (PWDs) have been breaking boundaries by doing works hitherto regarded to be the exclusive preserve of men. PAUL OKAH writes on the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development under N-Build programme.

The world is fast changing, not with men being given a run for their money by women breaking records and setting the pace in some occupations hitherto dominated by men.

When humanitarian affairs ministry made plans to train 40,000 Nigerians on different skills under N-Build, one of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP), no one envisaged that women, girls and persons living with disabilities (PLWDs) would be interested in learning carpentry, automobile repairs, plumbing and other occupations believed to be the exclusive preserve of men.

Blueprint recently visited the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and the Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI) Skills Academy all in Abuja (two of the 693 centres partnering with the ministry nationwide) and observed pregnant women, nursing mothers, PWDs, young girls and boys on different skills undergoing Batch C Stream 1 of the N-Build programme.

Some heavily pregnant women, nursing mothers, young girls and boys were seen either molding blocks, joining woods with nails, mixing cement, fixing pipes, repairing car parts or doing other things to show off their skills in the three months of in-house training.

Ability in disability
Many persons living with disabilities often prefer to sit under bridges and pathways to beg for alms, but not Fatima Nuhu, one of such women who preferred to be trained on Catering and Cookery at the ITF training centre.On June 8, when the minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, visited the ITF training centre for the formal closing ceremony of the Batch C Stream N-Build programme, after three months of in-house training, Miss Nuhu was among the beneficiaries who were awarded certificates of training and starter kits for six months apprenticeship with other organisations.

Speaking, Nuhu, who in tears of joy said she never wanted disability to limit her as she believed in breaking boundaries by acquiring skills that would enable her fend for herself.

Self-reliant women
Many women are presently looking for ways to be self reliant and not depend on men for sustenance, hence their learning skills for economic survival.

Though the N-Power Build programme aims to build competence and capacity of non graduates in highly demanded technical and vocational skills, including Automobile, Agric. Tech, Carpentry & Joinery, Electrical Installation, Hospitality, Masonry & Tiling, Plumbing & Pipefitting, it was discovered that many women and girls are dominating at the training centres.

Speaking with Blueprint, Miss Asabe Babas, who learnt Baking and Confectionery said she learnt to make chops, cakes and other things that would make her not to rely on men for livelihood, but stand on her own.

“I learnt how to make small chops, bake cakes, decoration of cakes, among others. I didn’t have any background knowledge before enrolling into the programme. In terms of welfare, we were treated well. We received N10, 000 every month for the three months we were in the programme. We are now planning for the six months apprenticeship to be able to learn more under experienced people.

“The relationship with other trainees was cordial. We looked out for one another. We worked as a team. There was no hostility. Even the ITF officials were very humble and friendly. They came down to our levels and taught us very well. We had only one man in my department; the others were women. We had about 10 women, though the distance and cost of transportation made many not to be punctual. However, I need the six months training to stand on my own. I still have a lot to learn with regards to making variety of cakes and decorations. I learnt a lot, but I can’t stand on my own at the moment.”

What men can do
It is common to see men repairing vehicles in different states across the federation, but people will always pause to observe when they see women doing such.

During a visit to FOCI Skills Academy in Katampe, Miss Mangset Caleb, who was observed fixing a car, told Blueprint that she can confidently perform 90 per cent activities in a car as she has been learning automobile repairs and other things since three months she enrolled into the N-Build programme.

“I have really learnt a lot during my three months here. I learnt how to change car gears. I even know how to maintain the car engine. I learnt how to fix some car parts. I know how to do wheel balancing and alignment. I can inflate and deflate tyres. It was during the training that I learnt that car tyres used to expire. I can refill the car A/C, among others.

“From childhood, I had love for cars. I used to imagine the mystery behind it. I never thought I will one day find myself as an automobile engineer. I used to respect engineers a lot. I used to see them perform wonders and knew their talent came from God. So, when I enrolled into the N-Build programme, I learnt a lot about cars, the transmission system and other things within three months.

“We used to come back in the evening after going out in the morning. Though there was no provision of a car from the federal government, but the instructors used to provide their cars for us to use for practicals. There are also spare cars in the workshop. So, if there is any practical we cannot do with their cars, we use the ones in the workshop.

“Some pregnant ladies were also taking part in the practicals. They used to come when they are fit, while others will complain of morning sickness. Whenever they won’t come, they would communicate with the HOD. I admired the pregnant ladies learning automobile engineering.”

Similarly, Aishat Suleiman, who benefited under the construction trade of N-Build at the FOCI Skills Academy in Katampe, said the trade was dominated by women desirous of learning trades believed to be reserved for men.

“I learnt how to fix showers, kitchen sink, among others. I learnt many things, especially how to buy items for the house. If I go to the market now, I know the type of materials I would buy especially quality ones.

“The first day I came here, I was wondering if I can do the work; however, one of the instructors encouraged me to try, that many women have succeeded before. The instructors were very encouraging, saying we would overcome many things if we learn the work. We have 22 women in the training more than men.

“I received starter kits after the training. We would be grateful to get stipends from the ministry for transport. After the six months training, I would stand on my own because already, I know many things about building construction.”

CommendationsMr Isaac Gullong John, who learnt building construction at the FOCI Skills Academy in Katampe, told Blueprint that the training empowered him to be independent.

“The experience was worth having. The training exposed me to so many opportunities I never thought existed in building construction. I learnt Carpentry and Joinery, construction of cupboards and other things in the kitchen. I also learnt construction of pillars, roofing of buildings, among others.

“There is always room for improvement in everything we do. The three months training are regarded as elementary stage; so the six months apprenticeship would enable me and others to learn more. We need to go out and practicalise what we learnt.

“I will advise the ministry to improve in the area of stipends. I wanted to say this to the minister when she visited on Wednesday, but time factor did not allow me. Because of fuel scarcity and transportation, an increase in the stipends would assist the trainees. We enjoyed feeding and I gave kudos to the minister.

“There was cordial relationship with the instructors and trainees. They took us as a family and we will maintain the relationship even after the training. If you don’t have a good relationship with the trainee, it affects the training, but we were lucky. We had a nice trainee at FOCI in Katampe and I would even advise the ministry to take future trainees there. They are good at what they do.

“I happen to be the trainees’ head and couldn’t help but commend the pregnant women also doing the training. In carpentry, electrical, plumbing and masonry, the ladies were there. It was discomforting at times though, but I salute their doggedness. They were able to overcome everything and carry out the training. We were carrying them along in everything, even when the pregnancy was discomforting. It was also not easy with some women with children who also enrolled in the programme. Some were coming from Bwari, Suleja and other axis, so I commend them. One lady was even coming from Kaduna, so it was not that easy.”

Room for improvement
Isaac Gullong John, who was head of all the trainees at FOCI Skills Academy in Katampe, advised the federal government to look into including unemployed graduates in the programme.

“I implore the ministry to expand the skills acquisition for graduates. At the moment, only non graduates are benefiting. I have some friends who are graduates, even with MScs wanting to learn the skills because of the economic situation of the country. Many of them are unemployed and were interested when I spoke with them about what I was learning. They want to learn solar installation, automobile engineering and other skills being provided by the ministry,” he said.

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