Train/Equip 30 Women In Enugu-Nigeria Urban Slum
Further to our last report in March, we hereby give our 3rd Report on the Project. The entrepreneurial and empowerment training for thirty (30) women participants in Aguowa Urban Slum in Enugu metropolis kicked off in January, 2018
The training started off in earnest. The women decided the time and days most suitable to them. We were made to understand that some of them do cleaning jobs in government and private offices and nearby homes. Participants were quite eager to get going. The women were provided with adequate training materials. The tailoring instructor was at hand to ensure a one-on-one interaction and the trainees were at ease with her. Training started off with measurements and stitches, crocheting and then making of baby wears, blouses, etc., and then adult wears.
They were fully committed to the training contents and schedules. The learning approaches used included case study, role play, brain storming sessions, etc.
They were taught every necessary detail in sewing and crocheting. In the last two months of the training, two Lift Saxum staff facilitated on Life skills and Business training ranging from; Valuing women’s work, Gender division of labour, Acheiving work life balance and balancing a double day, Stress and stress management, Managing household finances/savings, Planning ahead, Financing your business, Business Ethics, Behaviour and Time management, etc.
At the end of the training, the trainees were happy with the degree of skills they had acquired within the four months period. Of the thirty participants registered for the training, one person relocated, while the rest successfully finished the programme though with varying degrees of committment.
The exit/graduation ceremony was held on June 21, 2018. Dignitaries that attended the occasion included Mr. Osy Ekwueme, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Poverty Reduction, representing the Commissioner. Princess Oge Okereke a Director in the Ministry of Gender Affairs representing the Commissioner for Gender Affairs. Mr. Chimaife Nze representing Aguowa stakeholders association. In attendance were the Project Director and Executive Director of Lift Saxum Ltd/Gte, Mrs. Nwanneka Okolo, Mrs. Ebere Onwuchekwa, the tailoring instructor, M/S Chika Mbah, Lift Saxum Programme Coordinator and trainer and Mrs. Ukamaka Udegunam, Lift Saxum Programme Officer and trainer.
The beneficiaries all wore dresses they made during the training and so also did their little children who attended the ceremony with them.
The awarding of sewing machines to the women was the climax of the occasion and set the whole community agog. The women were taken by surprise since award of machines had been kept under wraps to make sure the right persons were registered for the programme. As soon as all the sewing machines were displayed the atmosphere changed with the women chattering and dancing. Eventually, the ceremony got under way and after the opening prayer and National Anthem, the women sang a welcome song after which the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Poverty Reduction, on behalf of the Enugu State Government delivered an address thanking Lift Saxum and GlobalGiving for the initiative which would help alleviate poverty in the State.
Participants then presented some drama and told impact stories all geared towards emphasizing their immeasurable joy over what they had learnt and received. They sang songs of praise to the management of Lift Saxum and GlobalGiving.
In her address, the Project Director advised the participants to put into work what they had learnt, reminding them that they would need to be self reliant and fend for their families. She told them to train their children both academically and in skill acquisition and also instill in them a culture of hard work. She further congratulated the beneficiaries and assured them of the organisation’s support and follow up on their business progress. She also pledged to help guide any of them who develop a good business plan and are in need of funds to secure loan with the Bank of Industry.
She ended by saying that individual donors to the project would be happy to know that their contributions have made and would continue to such a great impact.
Speaking on behalf of the rest, a beneficiary said among other things, that the sewing machines given to them would surely lift a lot of burden from their shoulders. She said their joy knew no bounds because from experience, most organisations give only training and no start-off funds or equipment thereby not making real impact in their lives.
Vote of thanks was given by the representative of Aguowa stakeholders association. He expressed their unalloyed joy and thanks to Lift Saxum, GlobalGiving Foundation and the numerous donors who made such a mark in the lives of many by giving them reason to live and keep hope alive.
This project is to train and equip 30 women living in abject poverty in Agu Owa urban slum within Enugu metropolis in tailoring, crocheting, business skills, functional literacy, gender awareness and life skills. It was designed also to address some of the gaps in skills and knowledge needed by Nigerian women and girls to enable them provide for education and general well-being of their families and lift them from the cycle of poverty.
Given that Nigeria’s population is made up of over 83 million women and girls, it is crucial that they be actively integrated in the scheme of things. As women make up the majority of informal sector workforce, due cognizance must be given to the fact that economic independence and financial inclusion are essential for empowering them. Studies have shown the unhealthy nexus between poverty among women and the many gender related ills in the society. Enhancing the access of women and girls to control over resources will increase investment in human capital which in turn will improve children’s health, nutrition, education and future growth.
Changes Introduced in the Community and Project Sustainability
In the course of the training, the women formed a social network group, which is gradually developing into self-help groups and several partnerships. Most of the women plan to start off in their homes while some others plan to venture into making kiddies wears on a commercial scale. This sustainability mechanism is one that is hinged on common interest and goals. The sessions on business training, especially finance, quality control, customer care and marketing are to ensure the sustainability and growth of the business. The beneficiaries were also assured that Lift Saxum would be monitoring their progress and would help them secure access to small loans and technical assistance.
The main challenge in executing the project was not being able to raise enough funds to purchase sewing machines for all the trainees and the depreciation of the naira against the dollar affected our purchasing power. Since there were only 20 sewing machines to give out we employed clear cut criteria - from dedication/prompt and efficient completion of assignments to attendance recorded to determine those to benefit. Pairs of scissors were given to others.
Recommendations and Conclusion
The fund has been of immense benefit to the project, especially with the purchase of sewing machines. The beneficiaries and the other stakeholders were very appreciative of the donors and we hope to be able to source adequate funding for our next project.
Lift Saxum is happy to have carried out this project. We are very grateful to our donors for their support and to GlobalGiving for providing the platform. It is such a joy to so directly be a positive influence in the lives of many women, and by extension, families.
Thank you all!!
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