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By: Ade Adeleke
One hundred widows and vulnerable women in Ondo state have been empowered by the State Chapter of the Women Advancement for Economic and Leadership Empowerment in Africa (WAELE) as part of activities to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the group in the State.
This is just as the group has concluded plans to train 35 women from Ondo state in Tanzania as part of the efforts of the Founder, Otunba Basirat Nahibi to further empower womenfolks in the country.
The anniversary celebration which was held in Akure where the beneficiaries were presented with cheques, is tagged, “Economic Empowerment of Widows in Africa”.
In a welcome address, the Ondo state Coordinator of WAELE, Mrs. Grace Adeniseun said five widows were selected from each of the 18 local government areas in the state for the two million naira (#2m) financial empowerment of the group.
Adeniseun explained that the empowerment initiative would make it easy for women to overcome the financial challenges, noting that trading with such fund would enable the vulnerable women to have resources to train their children.
She opined, “One of the greatest needs of widows is economic empowerment. This is because many of them have been stripped of their husbands financial and materials assets at the demise of their spouses. Widowed mothers who have to support their families alone are forced to take their children out of schools and engage them in manual labour”.
The State Coordinator said, “on the 8th May, 2004, WAELE was founded by Otunba Basirat Nahibi a woman of honour, a woman of dignity, God fearing woman, compassionate mama. She is passionately committed to advancing opportunities for women of all ages”.
“Her (Nahibi) primary aim is to increase women’s access to education and empowerment opportunities to ensure sustainable livelihood and enable them to live free of gender based violence by empowering women early. This will make it easy for women to overcome the challenges of life, especially in relation to discrimination”, she stated.
The State Coordinator noted that, “the founder has been empowering widows, she has been taking them to another country for empowerment and enlightenment. Whenever we have programme like this, people donate for us, as we are going to Tanzania now the programme is in conjunction with the Tanzania government”.
Adeniseun said, “my call to my fellow women is to stand on their own not to be (over) depending on their husbands, they should be doing business and they should come out and be voted for not they should be voting for people, we want them to be active in politics in their locality, environment, they should speak out for their rights”.
The founder and Initiator of the Women Advancement for Economic and Leadership Empowerment in Africa (WAELE), Otunba Basirat Nahibi, said the vision and mission of the group were to empower womenfolks especially widows, fight against women trafficking, sexual abuse, women discrimination and advocated against kidnapping, indiscriminate killings and all social vices that negatively impact on the women.
Nahibi who was represented by National Secretary of the organization, Dr. Aisha Saliu-Lemu, disclosed that the organization had birthed a compassion home a shelter to vulnerable women and children as well as operating a women and children hospital.
The WAELE Founder said, “our mission is to strive to unify various women groups to provide a strong voice for the fulfilment of African women’s aspirations. We create an enabling environment for empowering women economically and politically. We advocate peace and conflict resolution in Africa”.
Nahibi said, “One of the greatest needs of widows is economic empowerment. This is because many of them have been stripped of their husbands financial and materials assets at the demise of their spouses. Widowed mothers who have to support their families alone are forced to take their children out of schools and engage them in manual labour”.
“We are present and active in 53 African countries, we have carried out several training seminars and in depth information research on women related issues, we had the annual African women summit where women from different African countries meet to discuss and evaluate progress on our periodic workplan”, the Founder said.