FROM ISAAC ANUMIHE, ABUJA
The Federal Government has set aside N3 billion for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with good programmes for girls and women development in Nigeria.
The additional fund, according to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister for Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, would be an incentive for the MDAs to design helpful programmes for women.
Speaking during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Procter and Gamble, Nigeria, on the Growing Girls and Women In Nigeria (G-WIN), the Minister said it was at the instance of President Goodluck Jonathan that the project was captured in the budget.
“It was him with whom we discussed the idea that the budget could be used as a more powerful instrument to do more for girls and women because when you empower a girl, you empower a nation. Investing in women is smart economics. Investing in girls is smarter economics because you catch them early. So, it was a very result-oriented thing.
If in your ministry, you have a programme for girls and women, if you are willing to go even further for more results for them, you will get some incentive through additional budgetary resources. And the president in the 2014 and 2013 budget, supported us to make provisions for about N3 billion to experiment with this approach. We have never tried it before and we did not know that other countries have ever tried it.
“It looks like this was one of the first attempts. So, that is how G-WIN started and we had the Ministry of Women Affairs was very delighted to work with this and be a part of it and so were other MDAs that volunteered, which include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Communication Technology, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Works, the Ministry of Water Resources.
They all came forward and said, we want to achieve more and better results for Nigerian women. We will want to be part of this programme and benefit from these resources. We got the Ministry of Women Affairs and Finance to sign an MoU with all these agencies to kick off the programme, with women affairs helping us monitor the implementation.
“I must commend also my senior adviser who really pushed for this programme to be implemented and all the Ministry of Finance staff who worked on it. So, it is just a life of its own. I just want to mention some of the results, which the president was absolutely delighted that we set concrete goals and we achieved concrete results,” she said.
Already, she said the ministries had carried out a number of projects to enhance the employability of the women in various areas such as in agriculture, health and communications.
“Let me mention a few. In agriculture, for instance, 1,120 women have been equipped with agriculture skills. This is in addition to whatever the Ministry of Agriculture was already planning for women and more women have been registered to participate in the agricultural Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) for e-wallet. So, they can now get their inputs, vouchers for their fertilizers, their seeds and so on directly and we challenge them and 2.5 million women are now on the programme. And this is something to be proud of.
“The Ministry of Communications Technology has been instrumental because with their platforms we have been able to achieve some of these things in agriculture and health. But in addition, they themselves have been trying to train 2,285 young women and empowered them with the relevant skills in communications technology to enhance their employability. And so this is something very tangible.
“The Ministry of Health has done something, which is absolutely so touchy. We have a problem with VVF in this country and with their additional resources they were able to get additional 2,362 women whose dignity has been restored through repairs and who have been able to resume their lives. We know it is not perfect. The numbers are still large but again we have been able to deliver more results than we would have through this programme,” she said.
Source : SunOnline