WOMEN EMPOWERMENT: DEC ENUGU LEADS WAYS, BECKON ON STAKEHOLDERS FOR SUPPORT
Women empowerment: DEC Enugu leads way, beckon on stakeholders for support
A renowned Philanthropist Dr. Cecilia Ukamaka Asogwa has called on various stakeholders in the country to invest in human capital development especially the downtrodden as a surest way to alleviating hardship and poverty among the rural dweller in the society. Dr. Asogwa made this known in Enugu during the official opening ceremony of the 31st Annual Convention of Development Education Centre (DEC), Enugu.
Dr. Asogwa in her address noted that the yearly event was an avenue through which the organization takes stack and evaluates her programmes and projects of the outgoing fiscal year. She added that the event was also paramount for the organization to also plan her schedules for the incoming year as well; therefore welcomed the guests and mammoth crowds that came to grace the occasion.
As a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) assisting Women Self Help Group and Community Based Organization (CBOs) with its headquarters in Enugu DEC cut across the South East geopolitical zone including Kogi State in the North Central according to Dr. Asogwa, had worked so diligently in the outgoing year in the “four areas of intervention” which she summed as follows:- Women Education and Empowerment, Health Education and Promotion of quality good health, Entrepreneurial Skills Acquisition for unemployed out of School Female Youths and last but not the least, Microcredit Provision for Rural Women for Economic Self-reliance.
The Benefactors of late Sir. F.C. Asogwa Scholarship Foundation
The DEC Executive Director highlighted that the organization had worked so tirelessly in the outgoing year in 25 communities in the region including Kogi State. She disclosed that DEC educated about 10,000 people on the issues as it has to do with human rights, female circumcision, inheritance right for women and widows, violence against women amongst others. She equally appreciated the collaborative efforts of the royal fathers and other stakeholders in the various communities whom she said were galvanized in the process which apparently turned to a huge success.
“On the area of Community Health Education and quality health care promotion in these rural communities, DEC Enugu with her 40 trained Community Based Health Workers in 2015, educated 10,000 rural men and women and school children through health talks on personal and environmental hygiene, detection and prevention of disease like cancer, High Blood Pressure, HIV/AIDS, STDs, children disease, Mother and Child care etc. during the same period, DEC treated 4,000 patients and de-wormed 3,000 school children during her mobile clinic-outreach at 40 clinics held in 24 communities in 2015” Dr. Asogwa said.
She however stated that the organization was poised to expand her medical outreach to 40 communities in its second medical mission for the incoming year, 2016. Dr. Asogwa emphatically maintained that in the area of entrepreneurial skill development, that the centre has successfully trained and graduated 35 persons who had undergone various skill acquisitions in this outgoing 2015 in the various fields comprising Computer education, fashion and textile designing,cosmetology, catering and bakery and many more.
some of the equipment given to the graduationg students by DEC
Moreover, Dr. Asogwa stressed that the achievements of the organization cannot be quantified saying that 25 best graduants in line with the policy of DEC has been empowered with equipment and interest-free loan as a takeoff grant while others shall be assisted in securing employment. She asserted that the organization have set machineries in motion to train 50 out of school female youths in six different trades with the introduction of new ones such as bead making and Neo-sign printing in addition to the already established trades with moderate accommodation to about 30 students from the remote localities.
The Executive Director equally averred that DEC Microcredit in the year 2015 provided loans to more than N100 million to 2,500 rural women clients working in self-help group. She said that most of them were investors in trades and commerce, and agricultural sector. It was learnt that those who repaid their loan as at when do were handsomely rewarded with 5% of the loan given to them ab initio.
Dr. Asogwa who hinted that the organization intend to provide loans to 3,000 rural women in the incoming year however called on the federal government SMEs fund to assist to enable the organization do more in her articulated programmes. “I use this opportunity to call on Nigeria Government to develop a viable program on social services as being done in developed countries where poverty is far less than what we find in Nigeria. There should be social security for people suffering abject poverty in the country, which from experience is not more than 60% of the population” Philanthropies Asogwa highlighted.
The highpoint of the occasion was an award of certificates and equipment worth millions of naira to the 35 graduants in their respective fields of specializations. Those items include sets of desk top computers, washing and sewing machines, gas cylinders, hair driers and many more. Also in the award category was bursary scholarship worth of N500, 000 to indigents but intelligent seven undergraduates of tertiary institution and eight West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Councils (NECO) bound candidates from Enugu North Senatorial Zone. The scholarship which was said to be courtesy of late Sir, Fidelis Chukwuma Asogwa Education Foundation was founded in the year 200 after the demise of a foremost Educationist in the defunct East Central State, was being sponsored by the children since its inception. It was gathered that about 200 persons have benefited from the gesture in which about N5million have been expended in the programme for the past 14 years.
Dr. Asogwa in the middle and Mr. Chris Ugwu presenting a set of Desk
Top Computer to one of the graduating students
The Education Trust Fund, according to the Enugu state commissioner for Housing, Chief Charles Ogbo Asogwa who was one of the children of the late Educationist came under the facilitating effort of their eldest sister, the Executive Director of DEC Dr. Cecilia Ukamaka Asogwa. Hon. Asogwa however, noted that the gesture was in tandem with the legacy of their late father in educational development especially amongst the poor intelligent ones in Nsukka Zone.
Expressing their joyful mood, one of the scholarship awardees who spoke on behalf of his colleagues Mr. Eze Odinaka Solomon a native of Iheaka in Igbo-Eze South Local Government of Enugu state and a third year student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu Campus thanked the trustees of the foundation saying that the gesture was divinely to him and hid co-beneficiaries. He said that it was only God’s intervention that has been sustaining him in his quest for education all the while. “I am very happy for this gracefully blessed day and for the family of late Sir. F.C. Asogwa for this unprecedented love for the poor in the society. On behalf of my follow awardees, I say thank you very much and may God continued to replenish your effort to sustaining this all important service to humanity” Mr. Solomon prayed.
Similarly, one of the graduating students from the skill acquisition section Miss Onwuegbu Chinaza who hails from Ngookpala, Imo State could not hide her joy saying that, “I am very excited. It’s being a wonderful moment which I will always remember in my life. I thank our Mummy and DEC in general”. In the same way the women who were rewarded with 5% of the loans given to them earlier in the year were in celebration galore as same was replicated to students in the health department were presented with drug kits to the trained community health workers.
The graduating students
Earlier in his opening remark, the Chairman of the occasion, the former head of service, Enugu state and the Executive Director, Centre for the Progress of Rural Women, Enugu, Mr. Chris Ugwu expressed his profound gratitude for DEC especially the Executive Director Dr. Asogwa for her doggedness and efficient humanitarian services to the people through DEC. other dignitaries in the epoch making event include the Chairperson, Board of Directors, DEC and Executive Director, Society for the Welfare of Women Prisoners (SWEWP), Enugu Barr. Mrs. Sylva Akpala et al. The graduating students also made the event very colorful with their match past, dance and melodious songs to the admiration of the audience that filled the DEC corporate headquarters’ arena. The event was rounded off with the presentation of the organization’s official calendar and News letter for the year 2016 by the chairman of the occasion Mr. Chris Ugwu.