The Economic Community of West Africa States, (ECOWAS) Project, 50 million Women Speak aimed at women empowerment has kicked off in Nigeria.
This Project is part of the framework of Article 15 of Chapter 5 of the Additional Act on Equal Rights for Women and Men for Sustainable Development in the ECOWAS Area, which called on Member States to adopt all legislative and regulatory measures to ensure women’s equal access to all economic and gainful opportunities.
Speaking at the opening ceremony and country team official installation workshop in Abuja, Siga Jagne, ECOWAS Commissioner of Social Affairs and Gender said the project is in the areas of trade and entrepreneurship.
Jagne said the project will specifically include women access to public procurement and taking into account their contribution in the formal and informal sectors.
She explained that the initiative is to bring together all efforts of ECOWAS for the empowerment of women in West Africa and Nigeria.
According Jagne, “this project which brings us together today, is in line with the ECOWAS Gender Program, reinforced in 2005 by the Authority of Heads of State and Government through the adoption of the Gender Policy Document”.
She announced that, this workshop which officially marks the top of the operational activities of this project, also make you ambassadors for the visibility of Nigeria on this platform and all over the world.
“Your main mission will be to coordinate the collection and transmission of all data and information that can help and encourage women and girls to go into business in Nigeria, on one hand, but also and above all, encourage them to make this perform their main tool for networking and accessing local, national and continental funding opportunities.
While commending the government of Nigeria, Jagne declared; ” I would like to convey the thanks of the ECOWAS Commission to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in particular to President Muhammadu Buhari, also current President of the Conference of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, for his significant commitment to the process of regional integration and for the facilities offered to ECOWAS for its installation and visibility in this beautiful country”.
In her remarks, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Ifeoma Anagbogu disclosed that, the Ministry in collaboration with some other stakeholders has been executing many programs for the enhancement of women empowerment in Nigeria.
Anagbogu explained that, the collaboration between the Ministry and stakeholders including ECOWAS led to establishment of Skill Acquisition Centre’s and Cottage Industries, capacity building on entrepreneurship; Micro Credit/Soft Loan and ECOWAS Gender; Provision of economic empowerment equipment to indigent women.
She added that such collaboration has helped to “provide counseling to women in distress, development and strengthening of women cooperative for effective participation in Agricultural programs.
“I want to state that the Ministry being an apex national machinery charged with the responsibility of taking necessary actions for bridging gaps in various national development by bringing about speedy and healthy development of Nigerian Women, Children,
the socially disadvantaged and physically challenged, through main-streaming of their rights and privileges in national development process givers ready to collaborate with all stakeholders in the areas as requested by ECOWAS Gender Development Centre.
“These include, upgrading focal points and the various stakeholders on the content and implementation mechanisms of the project, informing and sharing on the roles and responsibilities of country teams”, she stated.