By Stephen Adeleye.
An NGO, Ladi Memorial Foundation (LMF) through its institute, Chateko Vocational Institute (CVI), has commenced a five-day training workshop on entrepreneurial skills aimed to empower widows against the Covid-19 pandemic in Kogi State.
The workshop was organised under the foundation’s Women and Youth Entrepreneurship Project (LMF-WEP), with the theme: ”Covid-19 Widows Entrepreneurship Workshop”.
Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, the Executive Director of LMF, told journalists at venue of the workshop in Lokoja, that the five-day workshop which started on Monday would be rounded up on Friday July 31.
According to her, the activities lined up for the training include: Sensitisation and health education on Covid-19, seminar on local entrepreneurship opportunities, and skills training on simple pastries and needle works, among others.
Osikoya, who was the immediate past Kogi Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, noted that empowering a woman to have such entrepreneurial skills would enable her to make positive impacts on herself, her girl-child and the society at large.
She further stressed the need for wives, young women and girls to learn vocational skills which could serve as mitigating factors against shocks of taking care of the families in an event of sudden death of their breadwinners.
She, therefore, advised women to avail themselves the opportunities offered by the foundation to get trained in vocational skills so as to be useful to their families and society in general.
”It is imperative for women to engage in productive ventures when their husbands are still alive so that when the eventuality happened, it will not take them by surprise.”
She noted that the foundation commenced operations in 2017, at her community in Ogugu, Olamaboro LGA, and had so far trained over 600 vulnerable women and widows in various crafts.
She emphasised that the foundation was established to reintegrate vulnerable women, young girls who might have had unwanted pregnancies and those who dropped out of school through various activities offered by the centre.
She described the institute as a vocational incubation centre for practical coaching and mentoring on entrepreneurial skills, saying participants who were serious and consistent would receive further support after the training.
She appealed to individuals, groups, international donors, institutions and corporate organisations to support and partner with the NGO in terms of sponsorship, by using the LMF platform to render their skills to the less privilege, and give their financial donations for human capital development.
“We have been engaging in advocacy and creating awareness for women to tap into the gains of using their hands and brains to support their families.
”We have integrated school dropouts back to school through Adult literacy and Informal Education scheme.
”We are partnering with NABTEB, Federal Ministry of Education to design training modules for our participants; we have conducted summer camps for the adolescents.
”We have provided literary services to those who cannot read and write and for students during holidays while our training modules have given opportunity for women who have passed through the centre to showcase their talents as often provide customers to them to earn a living,” Osikoya said.
Speaking at the workshop, the wife of the State Pastor, Living Faith Church, Lokoja, Deaconess Olubukola Olumuyiwa, urged participants to be dedicated to the training, saying skills have potential to provide income, and also make them employers of labour.
She added that God is interested in the works of their hands stressing that God only rewards the works of their hand.
Taking her bearing from the Scriptures in Proverbs 6;1 , Matthew 26;1-10 and Isaiah 3;7, she admonished women against idleness assuring that God is their husbands and he will be ready to bless their hands.
On her part, Mrs Martha Ahmed, the Executive Director, Adult and Non-Formal Education (ANFE) in Kogi, encouraged the participants and other women to register and enrol themselves for the program to better their lives.
Martha thanked the former commissioner for her efforts in empowering the less privilege and the vulnerable in the society, while appreciating her support and advice to ANFE.
Mrs Martina Oguche, the Director of Nursing Service, Kogi Ministry of Health, who delivered lecture of Covid-19, urged the participants to observe and take all the precautionary measures and protocols against Covid-19 pandemic.
Other speakers, Mr.Onuchojo Isaiah, the North East Coordinator of Grassroots Awareness Volunteers Against Organised Crimes, and Mrs Suleiman Fatima, an Environmental Officer, jointly urged women to ensure personal hygiene and imbibe all the protocols against covid 19 pandemic.
One of the participants, Mrs Victoria Ochani, commended the NGO for the training, saying it would go a long way in helping them to take care of themselves and their fatherless children.