The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals (OSSAP-MDGs) is collaborating with the Benue State government to empower women as part of its national programme of reduction of extreme poverty and hunger in every part of the country.
The collaboration will be enhanced in view of the fast approaching 2015 UN deadline for attainment of the MDGs.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr. Precious Gbeneol made this known during the visit of the wife of the Benue State Governor, Architect Dooshima Yemisi Suswam, to her office in Abuja on Tuesday June 4,2013.
The Benue State First Lady said during the courtesy call that Benue State seeks to collaborate with the OSSAP- MDGs on the empowerment agenda because women are the most vulnerable in the society and that their situation is even made worse when they become widows and they are not educated.
Architect Suswam said the Sev- Av Foundation, which is her brainchild is already doing a lot in the area of empowerment of women by equipping them with life changing skills in vocations like tailoring, catering among others. She added that Sev-Av Foundation has trained about 800 in different vocations and they have started using such skills to better their lives.
Mrs. Suswam also said that reduction of HIV/AIDS as well as the prevention of HIV/AIDS from mother to child is other areas she will like to collaborate with the MDGs office.
“We are collaborating with the wives of the Northern Governors Forum, which is focusing on the area of polio eradication and reduction of violence against women. Together we will ensure that Nigeria beats the 2015 deadline,” she said.
Responding Dr. Gbeneol said the MDGs office appreciates the collaborative effort adding it is now being enhanced as the collaboration is predicated on the fight against poverty, which will remove more women from poverty.
“We plan to scale up our work in health, education, water and sanitation sectors through the 2013 Conditional Grants Scheme since this have the potential to impact the lives of the most vulnerable.
“We are reaching more than 56,000 households in 24 states using the 2012 DRGs Budget and will be scaling up to cover more states of the federation with the 2013 Budget,” Gbeneol said.
It would be recalled that in 2011 Benue State received the sum of N701, 819,304 from the MDGs office with the governor contributing half of the amount as counterpart fund that was invested in the development of local councils in the state. In 2012 three local councils in Benue received N100 million each, which has been counterpart-funded.
Dooshima also lauded the Office for providing pro-poor projects in Benue State, stressing that the provision of boreholes for rural communities and other sources of water in the State was outstanding.
“The villagers are excited. Imagine villages that have never had access to clean water, being given one,” Dooshima said.