WOMEN EMPOWERMENT, A MAJOR CHALLENGE IN THE 21ST CENTURY, A WAY FORWARD IN THIS ERA OF ECONOMIC CRISIS

Today, the Empowerment of women has become one of the most important concerns of the 21st century. So much has been said,but practically women empowerment still remains an illusion in reality. In our day to day life, we see countless women victimized by various social evils with little or no response from the society.

This brings a lot of questions to mind, considering so many factors that should  be in favour of the woman. Women for decades are known for their inherent strength and double dose of adrenaline, tantamount to inner energy and zeal. All this energy she channels into family sustenance with little or no assistance from the society. The Enormous burden laid on the woman in Africa, is as a result of the direct impact of the traditional societal gender values, leaving the Woman at a disadvantaged  Position. Africa has laid it’s Foundations on neglect and setting aside of the most abundant and enormous endowment of the woman right from her conception.

The news of having a girl child as the First born of the family, as she is cannot inherit neither the father’s name or Property. Not to mention a family with an all female offspring, they are often viewed as most unfortunate, with the girls seen as repeated efforts wasted , as they their conceptions are viewed as trials to have the better gender, which is a male child. As a girl child, all these factors made me so unsettled and most times unhappy when I’m being unduely compared and considered to be of lower significance as against my male counterpart, be it in the family setting or the business world. This lead to my quest for a way forward, from this societal injustice and unacceptable discrimination against the girl child viz-a-viz the woman  she becomes in the future. All this challenged me to come up with Woman and Girl-Child initiative called Ebunlobinrin Foundation. This Foundation was born in 2012 with keen focus on steady increase in self awareness and women empowerment  to improve their socio-economic status, to enable her cope and contribute effectively in this period of economic crisis.

We singled out the underprivileged and misinformed group of women mostly found in the rural and semi-urban communities at large. This we decided to pursue with unwavering passion and strategic projects executed in the past. The Projects included skills acquisition of various trades where about  500 women were trained, certified by professional training organization and established to start up small scale businesses.     We also started a soft loans facility, which runs on a zero-interest and no collateral requirements, since most women are denied loans from financial institutions due to this gender based discrimination of not having collateral. This has given a lot of women to start up small and medium scale businesses. I dare to say that women have proven to be credit worthy and a lot enterprising. With this loans over 15000 women have benefitted, and many more are still joining to participate. We have an arm for  Girl-child Education Scholarship Scheme for acquisition of basic education for the underprivileged in the grassroot area.     We empower a group of farmers under the nickname ” Ebun Farmers ” in Ogun state, with financial assistance, farm inputs, and fertilizer etcetera to aid their production.  In 2017, Ebunlobinrin foundation  would be extending her tentacles into other areas if fully supported, as an N. G. O, we would serve as a source of inspiration to the women especially in the rural or semi- urban parts of the country.
The African continent is endowed with abundant natural resources with about half of this population being women. Yet Africa remain poor owning to the fact that women are not empowered. In almost all countries in Africa, women empowerment poses a major challenge. About half of the World’s population is women, who are ideally supposed to contribute half of the world’s economic, social and political input. This does not occur, however as research has shown otherwise. In Nigeria, it was revealed by the British Council, Lagos on Gender  in Nigeria, sighted that only 15% of Nigeria women have bank accounts and yet of the 165.5million people in the country, 49%(80million)are girls and women (Nwiro 2012). Furthermore, other research confirm that many women live in ignorance, poverty with little or no means of getting to know what is happening in the outside world. we now have more female-headed households than ever before. Therefore,we are determined to find more ways of empowering women in order to assist them to stand up for themselves and achieve socio-economic independence through seminars and workshops in helping the female entrepreneurs get education on how to apply for big loans from financial institutions to eliminate gender based discrimination policies. Also, empowerment of the girl child – through self Awareness and inspirational workshops in public secondary schools bringing in female Role models who were raised in public schools and rose to stardom by dint hard work and sheer confidence will be invited to encourage the girls.. Health wise, Free screening outreach will be organized in different zones in southwest to help reduce the incidence of both contagious and non-contagious but treatable diseases especially breast and cervical cancer screening. Since early detection is key to prevention, this community medical approach we believe will go a long way to  eliminate the myths surrounding their health and help them stay alive and healthy.

The first edition of this medical outreach is scheduled to hold soon. This hereby taking sophisticated medical care to the grassroot women. The prompting we feel to do these is as a result of the alarming rate at which this disease is wiping off both young and old women. We hope to also touch reproductive health care where attendees will be taught methods of protection against sexually transmitted diseases and treatment of STI’s such as syphilis which is a major cause  of still-birth. Women already infected with HIV will be guided on where and how to access proper medical help. All these massive public enlightenment campaigns, to fight these battles will be done collaborating with interested private sectors, other civil society and government.
We at Ebunlobirin Foundation Will like to solicit the support of the federal and state government, private sectors, individual philanthropist and other international organizations. “As long as you find a woman,empower her and you would have succeeded in building the future that stands secure for such a nation”.
Hence, for the realization of all our visions and constructive structured programs, Support Ebunlobinrin Foundation today.

Hon.(Mrs) Temitope Grace Okoya  {Founder and President, BOT}