Sunday, 19 March 2017

Mrs. Obiano at UN Side event, Advocates Entrepreneurship as panacea for Sustainable Empowerment of Rural Women

Wife of the Governor of Anambra State and Founder Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) , Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano making her presentation on on Opportunities for Entrepreneurship for Rural Women,’ at the Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON) Side Event at the ongoing 61st Session of the United Nation’s Commission for the Status of Women (CSW), in New York, United States of America.  


By Emeka Ozumba

The wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano has identified the creation of entrepreneurship venture opportunities as the panacea to the challenges of sustainable empowerment of rural women.


The governors’ wife made the assertion in a presentation on 16th March 2017 titled ‘Opportunities for Entrepreneurship for Rural Women,’ at the Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON) Side Event at the ongoing 61st Session of the United Nation’s Commission for the Status of Women (CSW), in New York, United States of America.  


Mrs. Obiano who was invited to make the presentation in her capacity as the founder of Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), a leading Non-Governmental Organization, stated that “When you take away economy power from the woman, you take away her gender power,” argued that modern society by its very nature has unwittingly denied the rural woman economic power with the absence of an economic growth vehicle which created an economic gulf between the womenfolk and the men counterpart. A situation she noted worsened under a weak Nigerian economy long before the recession set-in with the rural women at the vanguard of those most affected and traumatized.


She painted a picture of the post-civil war Nigeria society and the global oil boom which created more attractions in the cities and neglected the rural communities. The outcome was the migration of young men in search of greener pastures, and preference for male education with the females abandoned to a fate of waiting to be married often without commensurate training and skills to escaping poverty in the household.

Wife of the Governor of Anambra State and Founder Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano making her presentation on Opportunities for Entrepreneurship for Rural Women,’ at the Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON) Side Event at the ongoing 61st Session of the United Nation’s Commission for the Status of Women (CSW), in New York, United States of America.  



Said she:


‘’ The potentials of the rural women in Igbo land, Nigeria and indeed all over the developing world are limited by environmental and economic deprivations. To increase opportunities for them as entrepreneurs, we need to promote collaboration and opportunities for their empowerment by creating more openings for their financial inclusion, promote information sharing and positive exchanges between NGO’s on capacity building and opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and devising of transparent funding mechanism and support for NGO’s like CAFÉ with track record of outreach to women in hard-to-reach communities.’’


To buttress her position that the rural woman is industrious and enterprising, Mrs. Obiano praised the pioneering efforts of the rural women under the umbrella of Otu Umunwanyi exemplified in her story about the Ezikedike family women of Ukpor which not only serve as platform for affirmative action but also reflected in their programmes the positive elements of the modern day cooperatives. According to her, there is need for concerted effort to re-ignite the age-old practice of productive women’s group through organizations with the means to build capacity and empower them to migrate from poverty through the creation of income generating micro enterprises.

Cross-section of participants at the presentation by Wife of the Governor of Anambra State and Founder Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano on Opportunities for Entrepreneurship for Rural Women,’ at the Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON) Side Event at the ongoing 61st Session of the United Nation’s Commission for the Status of Women (CSW), in New York, United States of America.   



Mrs. Obiano highlighted the CAFÉ initiatives of providing over 2500 women with training and new skills, and empowerment free-of-charge in the following areas: Tailoring and Fashion design, Soap making, Bakery and Confectionery, Hair dressing and Beauty Therapy, and Interior Decoration, Telephone and Computer repairs, Community Health Assistant Services.


CAFE she also pointed out helps women to leverage opportunities offered by the Central Bank of Nigerian and the Anambra State Government’s micro credit loan managed by the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) which has created access and by allotting up to 60% of the funds to women engaged in petty business enterprises. These deliberate empowerment interventions she observed, has incrementally helped the women to becoming; economically self – reliant and gaining better quality of life; acquiring self-confidence, self-esteem and basic life skills, and above all are no more seen as burdens but contribute to family upkeep.


The well-received presentation drew applause and critical questions on the need to share her experiences with others and possible collaboration with other First Ladies in sub-Saharan Africa. In the audience were some members of the New York Diplomatic community, promoters of women groups, and international NGOs; and octogenarian, Editor-in-Chief & Publisher of Society & Diplomatic Review, Gloria Starr Kins, who praised CAFE programmes championed by Mrs. Obiano, especially her promotion of the course and advancement of the physically challenged. The Hon Commissioner for Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs, Dr. Victoria Chikwelu was also in attendance as part of the delegation of wife of the Governor.



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