Ekiti State First Lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi on Monday launched the Obirin kete Empowerment Programme aimed at empowering and building capacity of Ekiti women.
The programme is in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Ekiti State office.
Erelu Fayemi said the vision of the Obirin Kete women empowerment program is a future in which Ekiti Women are prosperous, empowered, productive and engaged.
The Wife of the Governor said the idea of the Obirin Kete initiative started in 2014 when she was approached by some women groups. She said the initiative has led to massive empowerment and support for women since then.
Specifically, she said the Obinrin Kete tour embarked upon by her office in September 2019 provided an opportunity to empower many women with grants for business across the 16 local government in the state.
Speaking further, she said a common complaint she received from the women is the lack of engagement with communities at grassroots level, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic as ,leaders are not able to visit their communities due to the restrictions in place. This, she said informed the establishment of the Women Empowerment Teams for each local government and were inaugurated on September 21st and 22nd 2020.
“The Women Empowerment Teams in all the local governments will support my efforts (and those of the government) with monitoring, timely information dissemination and advocacy on areas such as Economic Empowerment through Obirin Kete Ward Cooperatives, Monitoring impact of government policies on women and Support for Gender Based Violence Committees at LGA level
“Other areas include Support for Keep Girls in School Initiative, advocacy against Female Genital Mutilation, access to Primary Health Care at Community Level, access to Agricultural Opportunities, HIV/AIDS Awareness, COVID19 Awareness amongst women, Care for the Elderly Programs and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programs (WASH)”
She identified the Women Empowerment Teams in all local government to include, Female political office holders; Wives of local government chairmen; Female Councillors; Community Development officers; Female house of assembly members; Forum of women in Leadership members(FOWIL); Forum of spouses of Ekiti State Officials (FOSESO); and the Women Associations and Networks.
The First Lady explained that the flagship project of the Obirin Kete Women Empowerment Program will be the Obirin Kete Cooperatives. She explained that there would be two Obirin Kete Cooperatives in each ward, which means there will be a total of 354 cooperatives to start with.
“ They will comprise women of good standing nominated by the WET teams in the respective local governments. The beneficiaries of the cooperative programs should be poor and vulnerable women who have identified a means of livelihood they want to pursue.
The Local governments Gender Based Violence (GBV) committee to be led by the wives of local government chairmen was also inaugurated at the event. The First Lady encouraged those who are yet to inaugurate the committee in their local governments to make sure they do so before the close of the Global 16 Days of Activism on December 10th.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development , Alhaja Mariam Ogunlade, in her welcome address described The First Lady as a leader who has laid a good legacy for others to follow. She expressed optimism that the programme aimed at raising entrepreneurs in the State will be a success.
Present at the event were Ekiti State Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babafemi; Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Aare Muyiwa Olomilua; Commissioner for Women Affairs, Alhaja Mariam Ogunlade; Special Adviser Communications and Strategy, Mrs Sola Salako-Ajulo; SSA SDGs Mrs Bola Solanke, Commissioner Budget & Economic Planning, Hon. Femi Ajayi; Special Adviser, Social Investments, Barrister Victor Kolade.