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April 22, 2024
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A cross section of women during the celebration of 2024 International Women’s Day organised by Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment in Kaduna

IWD: WISE impacts 120,000 women in Nigeria – Executive Director

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By Sani Idris

Mrs Olanike Olugboji-Daramola, the founder and Executive Director of Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE), an NGO, says the organisation has positively impacted on the lives of more than 120,000 women in Nigeria.

Olugboji-Daramola stated this while speaking to newsmen at the sideline of the 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration on Saturday in Kaduna.

The founder said that WISE had promoted constructive environmental ideals and practices through empowering women to become stewards of natural resources and climate actors peace builders.

She recalled that the NGO, which was launched in 2004, focused on water sanitation and hygiene, food security and access to clean cooking energy which is on the front burner for the NGO.

Olugboji-Daramola lamented that over the years, a lot of women were exposed to hazards from their traditional methods of cooking.

“One of the reports that caught our attention was the World Health Organisation’s reports which said Nigeria tops the list of countries where women were dying annually from smoke related illnesses,” she said.

The Executive Director said the NGO was concerned about the many challenges women face in terms of accessing natural resources and safeguarding them.

“Over the years the women’s voices have been missing from the decision making tables.

”They are however able to take actions by either creating their own spaces to make changes or becoming authors of their own change.

“Women should stop emphasising they are being marginalised, that is an expired message.

”We should be authors of our own change, if we are not called to the decision making tables, then we must create ours,” she said.

Speaking further, Olugboji-Daramola listed WISE programmes such as the women’s clean cooking training and entrepreneurship project.

Others are financial literacy, green micro financing project, bridge and bank climate smart farming project or the tree growing enterprise for food security and climate resilience project among
others.

She stressed that all the programmes were geared towards equipping women with the knowledge, information,
skills, and seed capital that they need.

To make sure the women don’t remain passive recipients of solutions that have been coined without their involvement, the Executive Director said all their projects integrate and explore women’s leadership, personal agency, economic development, and peer mentoring.

She hoped that in the future, WISE would be able to serve as many as 20, 000 women annually.

“We believe that the more informed women get, the more equipped they are financially and in terms of skills, the better the society will be.

“The call for women’s empowerment is therefore not a contest between men and women, but a call for partnership, a call for a society where everybody’s voice counts, where we know that We all need each other.

“By inspiring understanding and appreciation for investment
in women and women’s inclusion, we contribute to creating a better world,” she said.

She urged women to call for inclusive investment that would unleash
their agency and give them a profound sense of belonging, relevance, and
empowerment.

One of the beneficiaries of WISE mentorship and training, Mrs Patricia Kendikkens, said before she got introduced to the NGO, she had engaged in businesses that had never yielded anything rather than loss.

“The business I did last before meeting WISE was storage of ginger. I took a loan from a cooperative and invested in it, that year ginger fell far below cost price and I was only able to get not up to ten per cent of my capital,”she said.

Kendikkens, who doubles as an entrepreneur under WISE, added that when she met WISE and was picked for a training, she was empowered with locally made stoves after the training.

“I was wondering what I will do with those stoves. They are heavy; I wondered how I could be going about with them, i became tired of the frequently asked questions by women on why I was trying to take them back to medieval days.

“I never gave up, I persevered until I sold them all and rendered the money. I over time began buying the clean cook stoves. There is no geopolitical zone in this country that I have not sold it to,”Kendikkens said.

She said she now has her own women group, courtesy of WISE that empowered her to also empower other women.

She thanked WISE for the opportunity, while calling on individuals or organisations to invest in women for a better society and sustainable living.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the WISE IWD celebration, which had hundreds of women in attendance, featured competitions, raffle draws and fashion parade, among others.(NAN)

Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani

Philip Daniel Yatai

Principal Correspondent, NAN Abuja
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