In its contribution towards uplifting the status of women in underserved communities in Nigeria, Vision Spring Initiatives (VSI) empowered vulnerable women with skills set and cash awards needed to sustain themselves and their families for the rest of their lives.

Newsconnect reports that beyond telling vulnerable women about their rights, VSI through the ‘EmpowerHer’ project went a step further to train over fifty women and equip 10 with vocational skills in culinary, hairdressing, Facial Makeup, such that they can have economic means to sustain their rights.

The Project Director of the EmpowerHer Project, Ngozi Nwosu-Juba said there are a lot of gaps when it comes to information on sexual and reproductive health and rights, hence, Vision Spring Initiatives is working tirelessly to bridge that gap.

In an interview with Newsconnect correspondence at the graduating ceremony organised for the beneficiaries, Ngozi said;

“Nigeria has signed many documents that say women have the rights to their body. They have the right to make decisions about the numbers of children they should have and when they should have those children.

“Many young people do not have a clear understanding of what that means, the Nigerian government is also a bit reluctant to give comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“We are filling those gaps by reaching out to women. For instance, we deal with vulnerable women. Some of them are sex workers who trade their bodies to make money and you see people telling them to come out of that trade but we are not thinking why they went into that trade in the first place.

“So the work we do is not just saying come out of that trade, If you want to come out of that trade, we also give you a source of livelihood , so that when you come out, you have something to rely on.

“We trained a total of fifty women. Our M&E officers helped us to know those who are really committed to a change, who are really committed in learning a trade.

“We ended up choosing ten of them who are really vibrant and ready. In the presence of the training, two people dropped out, along the line one person gave birth and couldn’t complete the training.

“We are going to enrol her in the second batch of the training. It is not going to be a one-off, we plan to do this in the next ten years and then we can come back and monitor what has happened.

“We believe strongly that when women are empowered economically, they can contribute not just to develop their families, but also the society”. Ngozi said.

In a separate interview at the event, one of the graduates and beneficiaries of the cash award Mercy Samson from Delta state said;

“I came to Lagos to come and look for my daily bread and a friend introduced me to this organisation Vision Spring Initiatives.

“They put me in hairdressing work, pay the bills, they bought the tools that i needed for me. I spent six months in the training because I have an idea about hairdressing before now.

“I really appreciate VSI for redirecting my steps. God will bless them in Jesus name. Each and everyone of us got 350,000 to establish ourselves. I will put the money in my business. I have a shop that I am managing. I will put the money into my business after paying my tithe on it”. She said

The Panelists at the event include Bukola Owokodu, Executive Director Damsy Foundation, Traditional ruler, Chief Badejo and
Olubusayo Ogunmade – Finance expert, Anuoluwapo Owoseeni the panel session moderator all charged participants on various topics ranging from;

Why should state actors and non state actors invest in women?

Impacts of Socio-economic factors in the lives of women

Roles of traditional rulers for the development of women in community

Best practices and Innovative approach that can be introduced to better the lives of vulnerable women

The long term benefit of investing in the lives of women, among other things were discussed.

When asked if there will be a monitoring plan to ensure beneficiaries judiciously utilise the fund, Mrs Ngozi said;

“We know that it might be little money, but it is also some money in this after COVID era that people are doing all kind of tradings online. We think that money can go a long way.

“We plan to monitor them but we know that the first money isn’t that much. So we are going to support them by linking them into businesses, reminding them what they learnt about savings, we will monitor and see what they are doing with the money.

“It is going to be a ten-year project, before the end of the project, we would have seen where they are. If they need additional support from us, for the fact that they are hardworking, we can top what we have given to them. However, we want to start and see how they go”. She said.

By News Connect Online

News Connect Online is a grassroot advocacy news platform established to promote development and peace through efficient and effective reportage across all beats. Beat: Education, Entertainment Environment Energy Business Health, Sport, Foreign News, Advocacy, Tourism, Transportation

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