Helpline makes case for rural women

By Daniel Tyokua 
Helpline Foundation for the Needy, Abuja has urged government at all levels to evolve measures that would empower rural women through agriculture.

The President  and Founder of the Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, said inclusion of indigenous women in scheme of things will enhance agricultural and rural development and eradication of poverty.
In a statement at the weekend to mark 2021 International Day of Rural Women (IDRW), the founder said this year International Day of Rural Women with the theme: Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All” was in line with the ongoing programmes being carried by the group in recent times aimed at encouraging access to food and addressing hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity.
Mrs Ahmadu, while drawing the attention of the government to rural women’s plights in Nigeria, added that providing training and empowerment for them  was in line with Helpline Foundation’s plans of cushioning hardships associated with their environment. 
She said: “Oct 15th is set aside for the marking of the (IDRW), the essence of the event is to create awareness on the rural women and their plights in FCT and Nigeria at large.
“It is a known fact that rural women and girls play essential roles in food systems  in the Nigeria– from production, to processing, preparation, consumption, and distribution of food – as well as in securing household and community nutrition. Yet, unequal power relations between women and men in the household and society, discriminatory gender norms and practices, prevalent violence against women and girls, and their disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work, result in unequal access to food and heightened experience of hunger, malnutrition, undernutrition, and food insecurity across the country.
“The theme for this year being Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All, was as a result of neglect to the rural women by the policy makers, as the government does not remember them. So this awareness creation will make the government remember them, because they have a lot at hand, including problems of the upbringing of their children, among other things they are helplessly tackle.
“It will surprise you to know that in some communities, they are treated unfairly and there is nobody to assist them. So for that, we are beckoning on the government at all levels to consider the widows in their policy – making. We are appealing to all the governments to consider and include them in their budgets. If this our appeals are considered, it will go a long way.”
On the NGO’s part, she said  ” We have so far embarked on periodic training and empowerment to the rural women annually across some selected communities in the six area councils of the FCT and suburbs.
“Why we train and empower them is to enable them cope with the harsh economy all over the world. Some of the rural women organisation that benefited from our empowerment programmes includes:  Yeyedu women,  Bwari women and Kurudu women.  
“Also the Foundation has given out the none profit Revolving Loan Scheme for women in our rural communities ongoing for the past 7 years respectively, where over 1000 have benefitted.
“As you know, they don’t have anybody to assist them, and the only way out is to train and empower them. We have trained about 1000 of them and after that, we gave them starter packs and advised them to be industrious and prudent in the management of their resources.
One of the beneficiaries of the ongoing training, Mrs. Maria Afiniki, confirmed that she learnt a lot through the training and was also empowered, even as she tasked government to support genuine NGOs to assist rural women.


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