The Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association (DEPOWA), has empowered 200 women and youths during its just concluded Skills Acquisition Programme at Ode-Ekiti, Headquarters Gbonyi local Government Area of Ekiti State.
The participants, who graduated Friday May 11, 2018 were trained for a duration of sixteen days in various vocations including cosmetics production, hair cutting, bead stringing, make-up artistry, gele tying, shoes and bag making. The trainees were carefully selected from Ode-Ekiti, Agbado-Ekiti and Aisegba-Ekiti.
The Skill Acquisition programme tagged, “Empowered for Success” was initiated by the DEPOWA National President, Mrs Omobolanle Olonisakin, to empower some women, youths and widows in Ode-Ekiti and its environs with a clear mandate to reduce poverty and unemployment rate in the country.
In her remarks during the graduation ceremony, the DEPOWA National President, emphasized the need to empower women saying when they are trained, its impact is felt on the nation even as the training of youths will secure the economic future of the nation. Mrs Olonisakin maintained that youth unemployment could be reduced through skills acquisition programmes like this one.
According to the DEPOWA National President, “the present economic climate makes self-reliance expedient.” She called on meaningful individuals and corporate organizations to encourage as well as support youths’ empowerment in order to enhance economic development.
She described the acquired skills as an opportunity for the graduating students to improve on their standard of living by generating wealth for the benefit of themselves, their families, the state and the nation.
While congratulating the graduands for a successful training, Mrs Olonisakin stated that the starter packs provided them by DEPOWA was to aid them in commencing their various businesses in earnest.
She disclosed that DEPOWA will conduct a “follow-up evaluation” while urging the beneficiaries not to sell the starter packs. She further disclosed that DEPOWA will always be ready to render any form of assistance to the graduands, in the course of the follow-up assessments.
Mrs Olonisakin also expressed her gratitude to the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) for the collaboration which indeed contributed to the successful conduct of the training programme. She also used the opportunity to express her sincere appreciations to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Service Chiefs and Commandants of tri-service military institutions for supporting DEPOWA over the years.
The CDS, General Gabriel Olonisakin, who was represented by the Deputy Director of Education, Defence Headquarters, Brigadier General Lawal Zakari commended DEPOWA for empowering the participants with different vocations for the purpose of engaging in gainful businesses. The CDS noted that the acquired skills, the starter packs and the task ahead of the graduands was a pointer to the fact that “they have started the journey to economic freedom, prosperity and wellbeing.”
On his part, the NDE Executive Director, Mr Nasiru Mohammed, who spoke on the collaborative efforts between NDE and DEPOWA, said the desire to empower women and youths in Ode-Ekiti was achieved as the beneficiaries were now self-sustained to establish their own business in order to add value in their respective communities. Represented by the NDE, South West Zone Director, Mrs Adeola Shafaru, he called on stakeholders and Non-Governmental Organizations to partner with DEPOWA and NDE to empower unemployed youths and women, including, the less-privilege and the disabled so as to encourage them to become self-reliant. He noted that this will bring about a crime free society.
Speaking on behalf of the entire community, the Olode of Ode-Ekiti, who also urged the beneficiaries to productively utilize their starter packs, acknowledged that DEPOWA has thought them how to be “fisher-men.” The Monarch equally told the graduands to ensure that they use the empowerment for the benefits of humanity, by impacting the skills to others within and beyond Ekiti State. The Olode appreciated DEPOWA and its leadership for touching the lives of his subjects. Chief Onigede Ogun represented the Monarch at the event.
The DEPOWA President and other Executive members of the association, later led other dignitaries to inspect the various exhibition stands where products produced by the graduands during the course of their training were displayed.
The climax of the event was the presentation of graduation lecture, cultural display, presentation of certificates and starter packs to the graduands while those that distinguished themselves during the training were given awards. The participants also presented gifts to Mrs Olonisakin in appreciation of her kind gesture in bringing the skills acquisition programme to their door steps.
The starter packs received by the beneficiaries included; Sewing Machines, Filing Machines, Gas Cylinders, Hair Barbing Clippers, Generators, Hand Driers, and Bags, among other accessories and tools.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 1000 elder widows from the communities in Gbonyi Local Government Area of Ekiti State benefited from free food items distributed by DEPOWA.