No fewer than 100 women in Rivers State’s Abua/Odual Local Council have been educated in mechanised garri processing to provide them with sustainable sources of income.
The women benefited from a training organised by a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Voice for Empowerment Advancement Nurturing Initiative, which included 70 widows, 30 young single mothers, and school dropouts (VEANI).
Veronica Joseph, Executive Director of VEANI, stated during the two-day event that following the training, the women would be clustered in five groups of 20 to form a cooperative society, adding that they would be linked to other markets.
According to her, the programme, which was funded by the European Union Act and jointly administered by the British Council, was aimed to provide women in rural areas with a stable source of income and to increase food production.
Joseph stated that rural women provide the agricultural produce that feeds the nation, and that her purpose was to empower women to seize economic opportunities by learning how to increase output and maximise income.
“Women have incredible potential for success, but they need a little push,” she remarked. We chose rural women because they produce the agricultural products that we use to feed the nation.”
“However, these ladies do not have access to a solid market to expand their sales.” The women continue to use rudimentary garri processing methods. The world has gone digital, and women no longer need to continue creating garri in the traditional manner.”
“With the new mechanised technique of creating garri, they can manufacture approximately 10 tonnes of garri each day, which will increase their revenue generation.”
“We want to make sure that women in rural regions, particularly widows, single mothers, and young girls who have dropped out of school, have a reliable source of income.”
Meanwhile, participants who spoke with The Guardian expressed their gratitude to the organisers, claiming that the training will benefit the state’s economy and their families.
“I am a school dropout and one of the selected young females that will benefit from the programme, and with it, I am hopeful that I will make money and return to school,” said one of the trainees, Oyani Martins.
Tamunokari Rita, a farmer, added, “We are grateful to the organisers of this initiative.” We have previously requested assistance because we, particularly the women and widows, are in great need. This training is like a prayer answered.”