The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has indicated the desire and commitment of her ministry to partner the Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association (DEPOWA), towards empowerment of women and youths to achieve economic prosperity of the nation. The Minister made this known during the graduation ceremony of the 10th batch of trainees of the DEPOWA Skills Acquisition programme in Abuja.
The Minister who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, commended the current DEPOWA leadership for empowering women and youths, particularly widows and orphans of fallen heroes. She reiterated the Ministry’s readiness to henceforth, work alongside DEPOWA in the execution of its empowerment programmes and trainings targeted at building a just and free society.
According to her, “as the national women and children’s machinery, the Ministry of Women Affairs will continue to partner with DEPOWA and other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), in the realisation of the goal of women empowerment as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
She added that the importance of skills acquisition was noticed during the nationwide lockdown occasioned by the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic. She averred that those with added skills were able to overcome the hardships by engaging in lucrative businesses which brought in additional income.
She, however, urged the leadership of DEPOWA to recognize the changing and dynamic needs of women and young girls from the traditional vocational programmes to what she described as male dominated sphere which include repairing of generator-set, air conditioning, plumping, tiling, masonry, amongst others.
She further spurred DEPOWA to leverage on the ministry’s National Centre for Women Development, in building skills that would be recognised both nationally and internationally. She noted that the centre had launched a flagship programme tagged: female artisanship project, which DEPOWA can model the trainings to enhance the quality of its certificates being issued to trainees.
She advocated for the eradication of gender-based violence in the barracks, while calling on the wives of the Service Chiefs to join the Ministry of Women Affairs in championing the campaign as critical voices in the barracks community.The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, in his remarks, appreciated the leader of DEPOWA for supporting the widows of military fallen heroes.
According to him, whatever initiatives are taken to support these widows, who are wives, children and wards of our departed colleagues that died in various operations for them to live a worthy life in the absence of their bread-winners who paid the supreme sacrifice for the peace and unity of our dear country needed to be encouraged by sundry. The CDS maintained that the Armed Forces of Nigeria would continue to support DEPOWA’s humanitarian and social intervention programmes and also cater for the wellbeing and welfare needs of families of fallen heroes.
Gen Irabor advised the graduands to improve on the skills acquired as well as make good use of the starter-packs provided by DEPOWA in sustaining their immediate families and also in adding value to the creation of employment in the society.
Gen Irabor, stated that the DEPOWA Skills Acquisition Centre as over the years proven to be a channel that has continued to help in the empowerment beneficiaries towards having a meaningful source of livelihood. He maintained that the DEPOWA’s advocacy, humanitarian and social intervention programmes are in line with the mandate of the association which is to stand up for, support and enhance the quality of life for military families.
Earlier in her welcome address, the DEPOWA President, Barrister (Mrs) Victoria Irabor, said that embarking on skills acquisition for widows and vulnerable youths is in line with the role which DEPOWA and her affiliate member associations are playing in addressing the enormous social and emotional stress, associated with being the wives of men, who she said are trained to lay down their lives for their country.
According to her, the insecurity in the North-east and other flash points had led to loss of lives and the increasing rates of widows and orphans in the military and police barracks.
Barr Irabor, disclosed that 40 students who successfully passed through the six months rigorous and intensive training, comprised of widows and orphans of fallen heroes. She added that the graduands were trained in fashion designing, catering, hair dressing, make-up and gele tying, barbing, cosmetic production, computer studies and bead stringing.
The DEPOWA President further explained that the starter-packs provided to graduands, were set of pots, ovens, cylinders, cake mixers, coolers and baking pans. Others, she said, include generators, clippers, powder brush, combs, catering, weaving and sewing, tonging machines, hair dresser, standing and hand hair dryers.
Mrs Irabor equally revealed that DEPOWA will provide funds for the graduands to able them to rent shops for a period of one year.Highpoint of the graduation ceremony, were the presentation of certificates and starter-packs to the graduands as well as exhibition of the items produced by the graduands.
Dignitaries that graced the events were the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral AwwalGambo, Defence Headquarters departmental chiefs, senior military officers, National Presidents of the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association, Mrs SalamatuYahaya, Navy Officers’ Wives Association, Hajiya Nana Gambo, Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association, Mrs Elizabeth Amao and Police Officers’ Wives Association, HajiyaHajara Baba. Others were past presidents of DEPOWA.
Director Defence Information
4 August 2021