The World Bank Task Team Lead, Nigeria For Women Project, (NFWP) Mr. Michael Ilesanmi has said that Ogun State is setting the pace among other selected States in the World Bank Assisted Project, as it has spurred other States to show interest in the scheme.
Nigeria For Women Project is a strategic long-term partnership between the Federal Government and the World Bank to support the government’s goals of ensuring women’s equality and improving their livelihood.
Ilesanmi stated this in Abeokuta, during the Mid-Term Implementation Review Mission of NFWP, saying the level of the Dapo Abiodun-led administration’s commitment to the project had boosted the economic power of women across the State.
The Task Team Lead noted that the project which was a test run in Odeda, Yewa North, and Ijebu North- East Local government Areas had provided a wide array of financial, product, and technical assistance and help to women, adding that its implementation is in tandem with the ‘Ok’Owo’ Dapo and other women empowerment initiatives of the government.
“I have spent almost a decade with the World Bank and I have been part of a series of projects within the country, but what happened at the flag-off of the NFWP individual grant in Ogun State was a clear testament of government ownership of this project”, Ilesanmi said.
He commended the present administration for its decision to extend the project to other Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the State, through the ‘Ok’Owo’ Dapo initiative, as well as the human capacity building programme.
Speaking, the National Project Coordinator, Mrs. Ruth Mshelia, lauded the Dapo Abiodun-led administration for the huge success of the project, as it had disbursed livelihood grants to women across the State, saying “the testimonies of the beneficiaries have said it all”.
On her part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, who is also the Secretary of State Steering Committee, Mrs. Melutia Ogunremi, affirmed that the project has a significant impact on the lives of women, as the rate of domestic violence had drastically reduced.
“The rate of domestic violence has drastically reduced in various homes in the State and husbands of some of the beneficiaries have testified that their wives’ empowerment has helped to prevent a fight, as well as promote communal livelihood”, Ogunremi noted.
She added that the training given to the women in the course of the project had uplifted their businesses, soliciting more support from the government, particularly now that Ikene Local Government Area would soon be included in the pioneering LGAs, making the numbers of recipients increase above the expected 54,000 beneficiaries.
Other dignitaries at the meeting include, Co-Task Team Lead, Mrs. Vicki Esquiuel from World Bank, Senior Program Officer, from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mrs. Sybil Chidiac, State Project Coordinator, Mrs. Bolanle Fadairo, among others.