An NGO, Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative (EWEI) on Tuesday handed over four women-led cooperative societies to Kaduna State Ministry for Human Services and Social Development for inclusion in government support programs.
The NGO also presented to the commissioner of the ministry, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, the final reports of its “Our Safe Spaces” (OSS) project, as well as a progress report of its ongoing “We for them” project.
EWEI’s Program Officer, Gender, Mr Mendie Jerimiah, while presenting the leaders of the cooperatives to the commissioner in Kaduna, explained that the groups were established and supported under the NGO’s OSS project.
Jeremiah identified the cooperative groups as Unguwan Dosa Nasarallahi Women Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Limited and Unguwan Dosa Cigaban Al’Uma Women Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Ltd.
The others, he said, are the Unguwan Romi Unity Women Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Ltd. and Unguwan Romi Taimakon Juna Women Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Ltd.
He said that the OSS project, which began in 2019 with support from the United Nation’s Trust Fund was designed to support women and girl survivors of Gender-Based Violence, physical violence, internally displaced women in minority groups, economic violence, and sexual exploitation.
He added that the project directly benefited 80 women, 40 from each of the project communities while indirectly benefiting over 3.7 million community, religious leaders, security personnel and government officials with key messages against GBV.
He identified the communities as Unguwan Romi in Chikun Local Government Area (LGA) and Unguwan Dosa in Kaduna North LGA.
He explained that the inclusion of the cooperatives in government supported programs would provide the needed opportunity for the groups to thrive and ensure sustainability.
“The cooperative societies were established as a sustainability plan for the women to continue to help themselves and support other women in their communities.
“We want the ministry and other government departments and agencies to include the cooperatives in their programs so that they will access government funding support and other women empowerment programs.
“We also want the ministry to link the cooperative with social workers in their various locations so that they would share information and refer cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) for quick attention,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Uche Egbe, EWEI’s OSS Project Primary Focal Person said that the project had so far promoted beneficiaries’ access to psychosocial support systems and economic empowerment opportunities.
This, according to him, facilitated the normalization of their lives, and improved community support to address violence against women and girls using participatory and community-based approaches.
“Through Our Safe Spaces Project, displaced women and girls, indigenous women, and survivors of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation are now better protected from violence and exploitation.
“They are also supported to gain access to psychosocial support systems, develop reduced vulnerability and benefit from economic empowerment opportunities through establishment of cooperative societies.”