The Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), has empowered 10,385 residents, particularly vulnerable women, from 2019 till date through its Micro-Enterprise Support Initiative (MESI) in a bid to make them financially independent. 

Speaking at a recent empowerment programme for 1,500 vulnerable at the Isheri Skills Acquisition Centre, Olowora-Berger, the Commissioner for WAPA, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, explained that MESI is an intervention programme designed for vulnerable and indigent residents across the State, irrespective of social status, religion, health status or political beliefs. 

“Today, we are empowering beneficiaries with working tools through our social intervention programme. An initiative which aims to ensure that participants are empowered to be self-reliant so that they can support their families and contribute their quota towards the Greater Lagos vision”, Dada stated. 

The Commissioner reiterated the Ministry’s dedication to easing the plights of women in Lagos State as part of efforts to upgrade them into highly resourceful persons, who are also financially capable and self-dependent. 

Dada said: “The focal point of the initiative remains the grassroots level and WAPA is unwavering in its efforts to financially liberate many community dwellers through its numerous empowerment programmes”.  

The Commissioner called on the unemployed or underemployed, to enrol in any of the 20 tuition-free Skills Acquisition Centres (SACs) across the five Divisions of Lagos State, which offer more than 20 vocations, for a duration of six to 12 months. 

Similarly, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Oluyemi Kalesanwo, averred that WAPA is unrelenting in its drive to empower vulnerable women, through its various initiatives and skills acquisition centres, towards poverty alleviation and eradication of sexual and gender-based violence across the Lagos metropolis. 

“WAPA remains dedicated to the empowerment of youths and women, as such, the State Government has intensified its efforts to drastically alleviate poverty and curb all forms of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence”, she stated.  

Various empowerment materials such as milling machines, deep freezers, sewing machines, professional hair-dryers, barbing kits with sterilisers and generators, popcorn-making machines, carbonated drinks merchandise, photography equipment and tile laying machines, amongst other vocational tools, were distributed to 1500 participants. 

In addition, beneficiaries of WAPA’s snail farming training were also equipped with snail pens and 40 snails each, which will aid in starting them off in their businesses.