By Ameer Obansa, Lokoja
ActionAid Nigeria, on Friday reinstated its commitment to address inadequacies and uphold the right of women folks in other to regain their natural self-worth in the society. ActionAid Nigeria is Non Governmental Organisation.
The Kogi state ActionAid Project Manager, Mrs Gift Owonipa dropped this hints in Lokoja, while addressing delegates in the bi-annual meeting of women peer facilitators programme advocacy meeting, where women in the rural areas meets, share their experiences and challenges geared towards finding solution them.
She said the women peer education programme which started in 2012 at Osara, Osaragada and Osisi communities in the Central District of the state, has not only reviewed its function after 5years on stream, but enlisted 33 women per education circle in 7 communities in the state.
Mrs Owonipa who is also the Executive Director of Participation Initiative Behavorial Change in Development (PIBCID) in the state, noted that the Women peer group came on board to advance the rights of women and girls,in response to the obvious gap between needs of women at community level.
She maintained that their interventions in some communities has reduced the mourning period of widows from 5 to 3months, including reductions in materials to be presented for performing such “freedom rites”, by the windows.
Explaining further, she said that the ultimate goal of ActionAid Nigeria is to achieve SDG 5 of gender equality and empowerment of women and ladies in the society, adding that this platform will continue to “mobilize and organize women at community level around issues that effect lives, politically, socially and economucally”.
Mrs Owonipa noted that the women
Peer education group is on track and has achieved a lot in some communities in the state since it came on stream in 2012.
Besides reducing widows’ mourning period at Ugbedomagwu and other communities, she said, the intervention has provided drugs to primary health centres in communities which she said has resulted in community led action in advancing rights of girls’ education, and created great testimonies of peaceful and harmonious coexistence from family to community level.
while she stated that the group is bedeviled with challenges like low literacy level, lack of adult literacy facilities/services and needs of empowerment programmes for members , Mrs Owonipa frowned at some women circle members for lack of commitment to the platform’s activities in their community.
However, participants who were drawn from 7 communities in the East and Central District of the state, Okpakpata, Ujagba, Osisi, Osaragada, Osara and Ufuloko recounted their experience and commended the Centre for its intervention programmes that has changed their life, for good, in their various communities.
According to the participants, the Centre has made them to understand the importance of family planning, especially, child spacing, keeping of personal hygiene, sanitation at home, importance of unity and cooperation in the family and investment mentality.
“Before, after child birth, it takes about two years before we can meet with our husband, because of the general belief that if a man have sexual intercourse with a woman, it results in pregnancy. But the intervention of the Centre on the teaching and adoption of family planning principles, we no longer wait till such a period before having it with our husband”, participants from Okpakpata and Ofuloko expressed.
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