International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 in Nigeria has witnessed an immeasurable boost as the Ministry of Women Affairs in its engagement with the rural women, visited the Karshi Community located in between the Federal Capital Territory and Nassarawa State.
The Ministry through its World Bank Assisted project ‘Nigeria For Women Project’ (NFWP) during the visit on Thursday, also distributed palliatives to the women.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen in her remarks at the event which was held at the Emir of Karshi’s Palace, said that the Ministry decided to bring the event down to the rural community, so that the women in grassroots can be part of the International Women’s Day celebration.
Dame stated that the Day which is celebrated on March 8 every year, is set aside to take stock of how far women have come in their struggle for equality, peace, and development, adding that women have a major role to play in ensuring a peaceful and healthy society.
Dame Tallen stated that the Ministry is addressing the challenges confronting rural women through high-level advocacy to state governors and traditional rules, to reduce women’s vulnerability to poverty and hardship.
While expressing the belief that the occasion will help draw public attention to the issues of girls and women, she stressed that the Ministry will stop at nothing in its effort to ensure the realization of an equitable society for all Nigerians.
Speaking on how the areas were selected for the visit, she said, “We did the selection as a ballot. This is not the first rural community I am visiting. We visited so many last year and this is the second this year. We have reached out to as many as we can and we will still extend more to various Communities.
“We want to engage wives of our traditional rulers for their advocacy to talk to women, to make sure that the girl-child education is properly addressed, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) addressed and to make sure they take their children to ante-natal care because health is wealth”, she said.
She urged all Nigerians to reach out to people within their communities, adding that the government cannot do it all alone.
Also speaking, the National Coordinator of the ‘Nigeria for Women Project’ (NFWP) under the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Ruth Peter Shelia, noted that the Ministry chose to visit Karshi women to encourage them, and to create more awareness on the International Women’s Day.
In her words, “the NFWP supports women empowerment and the issues of the social norm. In addition to the palliative, the women are sensitized to be self-reliant and economically empowered to support their family and send their children to school.
“The project is targeting 324,000 women across 6 states which are Abia, Kebbi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, and Edo. It is looking at groups as well as individual empowerment across the Communities. The project is targeting three local governments per state and we are empowering 15,000 women in each local government, she noted.
For her part, the wife of the Emir of Karshi, Mrs. Halima Mohammed who represented her husband, appreciated the visit and assured that issues raised by the Minister, especially Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) will be addressed, adding that FGM is not practiced in Karshi.
On the girl-child education, she noted that it is taken very seriously in Karshi. “We have a robust scholarship program for orphans and the indigent and we pay very good attention to the girl child. Sometimes for us to pay school fees we give it 70-30 in favour of the girls and it is working for us perfectly”.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry, Amb. Anthonia Ekpa who spoke in laconic applauded the Honourable minister, Dame Pauline Tallen for her love for women and children, disclosing that the ministry is resolute to better the lives of women in Nigeria.
Several items which include rice, groundnut oil, wrappers, spaghetti and macaroni were distributed to the women.