… As WAPA Holds Stakeholders’ Forum with Women-Focused  NGOs 

Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada has assured Women- focused Non-Governmental Organisations  (NGOs) of the formulation of effective strategies that will address the myriad of challenges facing women in society.

She gave the assurance on Tuesday while speaking at an interactive session themed: ‘Stakeholders Forum with Women-Focused NGOs’ at WDC Agege.

Dada stated that the meeting was meant to allow the participants to rub minds together on developmental issues about Non-Governmental Organisations domiciled in Lagos State.

She also implored the NGOs to partner with the State Government in implementing strategies that will deliberately address and prevent gender-based violence, using continuous awareness campaigns, legal assistance, and supportive services for survivors. “We must explore all avenues available to us all, to reduce poverty amongst the citizenry, to the barest minimum to achieve our vision for a Greater Lagos”, she said. 

The Commissioner emphasised the need for women-focused NGOs to acquaint themselves with the state government’s programmes implemented through the Ministry as a strategic way of impacting lives in society. 

 While appreciating the women-focused NGOs for complementing the efforts of the Lagos State Government through empowerment programmes for the deserving members of the public, Dada encouraged other NGOs to be versatile and ensure active participation in their different capacities going forward, by reaching out to the less-privileged and down-trodden in remote areas of the State.

The Director of the Domestic Violence Unit in the Ministry and one of the facilitators at the event,  Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olorunfemi, stated that gender equality should not be seen as being women-biassed, but rather as a human rights issue that requires the engagement and involvement of all stakeholders.

She maintained that when women are given equal access to education, healthcare, employment, and decision-making positions, they will improve their own lives and contribute significantly to the overall development of society.

Olorunfemi lamented that despite the progress made over the years in the area of gender, inequality persists in various forms across different sectors of society, assuring that the State Government will not rest on its oars to stamp out the monster from the state.

She said, “Gender-based violence prevention and response is targeted at implementing strategies to deliberately address and prevent gender-based violence, using continuous awareness campaigns, legal assistance, and supportive services for survivors. Plans are underway towards domestication of the VAPP Law in Lagos State”.

On her part, the Director, Poverty Alleviation Department in the Ministry, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Salami, restated the commitment of the State Government to drastically reduce the rate of poverty to the barest minimum among indigent residents through livelihood support programmes. 

She revealed that the Ministry had in the past empowered women with Farmlands for agricultural purposes and also collaborated with some private organisations to train and empower women in Catfish breeding, snailery and Micro – micro-enterprise support Initiative programmes.

Similarly,  the Director, Skills Acquisition Development Unit, Ms. Adejoke Oshodi-Olasunkami stated that the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has  19 Skills Acquisition Centres across the State and offers 20 vocations free of charge to Lagosians. 
She also informed the gathering that a total of 4,592 students will be graduating from all the centres on 22nd November, for the year 2022 training programmes offered across all the Skills Acquisition Centres.