CEE-HOPE Nigeria in partnership with the Hearts100 group recently organized a one-week economic skills empowerment program for women and girls including survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and other groups drawn from across Lagos and Ogun States from April 17 to 21, 2023.
The one-week training which took place in Lagos, featured skills such as bag making, pastries making/catering, cosmetics training, tailoring and soap making. There were about 40 trainees.
The training aimed at equipping the women and girls with practical skills that would enable them to become financially independent and contribute to the development of their communities. For the survivors of GBV. It would also go a long way to make them financially independent of their abusers since many women remain in abusive and even life-threatening relationships due to economic incapacitation. Experienced trainers were on hand to provide expert guidance and support in these areas.
During the program, the women were also provided with counseling sessions by experienced counselors who provided emotional support and guidance. Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode, renowned sexuality expert and anti-SGBV advocate and Mrs. Olive Oluwagbemileke, a counselor from the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA) spoke to the women about the effects of trauma and domestic violence, how to deal with the aftermath of traumatic experiences, and the importance of seeking professional help and support. Also, a GBV survivor who is an expert on branding, provided a session on business branding to aid the women in their Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The counseling sessions were insightful and informative, providing the women with a safe space to share their experiences and seek advice and support. They also provided the women with group as well as individual counselling sessions.
At the end of the program, the women were given grants to support their business ideas to the tune of N20,000 (Twenty Thousand Naira) each. The bag making and tailoring classes will continue weekly for the next three months.
“The training was certainly one of our very best so far”, said CEE-HOPE’s founder Betty Abah who also coordinated the training. ” It was targeted at the right persons. The enthusiasm to learn, the feeling of solidarity and the joy at the end of the training were very infectious. Besides the core skills training, I think also that bringing the counseling and other other sessions in-between proved very effective.
“Many of those hurting were able to find outlets for expressions and were also guided. A few of them were also referred to the office of the DSVA for further counseling and action. We thank everyone of the organisations who referred the trainees to us and we look forward to more of these trainings. We are deeply grateful to Hearts100 for these and many other life-enhancing projects in Nigeria in partnership with CEE-HOPE’, Abah added.
In the end, the trainees, facilitators and organizers were all unanimous in the view that the program was a success. The women left feeling empowered and confident, equipped with new skills and resources to start their own businesses as well as the knowledge to take control of their lives.
“I really enjoyed the training and I am looking forward to it again. I am implementing all I was taught in the training. I am also grateful for the empowerment grant, even planning on getting an oven for my baking business soon,” Rose Ogudu one of the participants stated.
“The training was really effective. The women were eager and productive students, I was really proud of the results they produced during our training.” said Titilope Ajimuda, leader of CEE-HOPE’s girl empowerment club at Makoko community, who was the cosmetics class facilitator.
“I am really grateful and I did not take this training for granted, I learnt so much from the training. I have already made my child’s school bag from the knowledge I received from the training.” Martha Areghan another participant expressed her excitement after the training.
“The training was awesome and impactful, because of this training I can now start making my own bags and I even have the knowledge on how to run my business very well.” Gladys Enenche, another participant commented.