The administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in the last two years,has rescued about 48,000 households from poverty through its social intervention programmes under which women got cash transfers and acquired skills. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) Mrs. Bolaji Dada, who announced the figure, said 1,050 rural women received intensive training in boosting outputs in agricultural production and giving the beneficiaries equal access to markets. She said the State Government, in the last two years, prioritised intervention programmes that support women in achieving gender equality, self-reliance, skill balance, inclusion in social security systems and stable means of livelihood. The Commissioner tendered a report of the Ministry’s activities at the on-going inter-ministerial press briefing organised by the State Government to commemorate the Governor’s second anniversary. Mrs Dada said the ministry, in collaboration with the Office of the Sustainable Development Goals and Investment (SDG & I), was supporting 2,704 Lagos residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. She added that 500 women were assisted with N20,000 each through Rural Women Grants from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. She said: “In the last two years, WAPA, through the Women Affairs Department, organised series of programmes and activities aimed at improving the status of women in Lagos and making them economically independent. To increase the total GDP for income generation, financial growth and stability, we embarked on supporting women through direct cash intervention and capacity building.
“Over 48,000 women from different households directly benefited from the State Government’s mega empowerment project. Our agricultural training for rural women on cultivation of vegetables, cassava planting and cultivation, garri processing and other arable crops benefited 1,050 women. We trained 250 women through an empowerment workshop on intercrop of maize and cassava with demonstration plots for practical knowledge.” The Commissioner said the Skill Acquisition Department of the ministry yearly produced 6,000 graduates across its centres, pointing out that the unit had expanded the scope of the skill programmes to include production of industrial gas cooker and oven undertaken by the Welding and Fabrication Department for revenue generation purpose. Dada said WAPA collaborated with the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Board (LASTVEB) to review the training syllabus of the State-owned skill acquisition centres; the effort, she said, led to the award of highly recognised Certificate of Competence to graduates of the centres. The development, the Commissioner disclosed, has created a seamless movement of interested graduates of the Lagos skill centers to further their vocational training in tertiary institutions without inhibition. She said: “In 2019, our skill acquisition centres churned out a total of 6,252 graduates, comprising 4,200 female. On the day of their graduation, Mr. Governor supported 18 outstanding students with N100,000 each to boost their morale. In the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, students across our skill acquisition centres produced 500,000 face masks for public use.” Mrs Dada said the State Government was on the verge of increasing the number of the women development and skill acquisition centres. One is due for commissioning in Agege. She added that eight vocational centres are at their completion stages, including skill acquisition, gari processing, cold room, market stall and community hall in Ibeshe Town, Amuwo Odofin, and a home for survivors of domestic violence.