Vegetable Production: NGO Empowers Women in Kaduna ….links Gender Based Violence to Poverty

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

An NGO, Voice of the Girl Child and Vulnerable People Foundation (VGCVPF), has empowered women in Kaduna State with knowledge in vegetable production and presented them with startup kits for backyard farming to help reduce over dependency on their husbands.

The kits contains, seedlings tray, coco peat, fertilizer, sacks (for above the ground planting), East-West tomatoes seeds, spring onion seeds, pepper Seeds, okra seeds, spinach, record book and pen, Voices of Heroes branded Shirt and facemask.

Ten women; including widows and women with disabilities were selected from across 2 LGAs of Kaduna North and South, within the state, and presented with ’empowerment kit’ to pilot the first phase of the project after training on vegetables production.

The beneficiaries who expressed appreciation to the NGO, promise to do their best an ensure they expand the knowledge by training other women in their various communities.

Addressing the beneficiaries, Executive Director of VGCVPF, Mrs. Aisha Bello, expressed hope that the knowledge impacted on the women began an interesting journey that would liberate them from over dependency on the men.

She said the reason for the project was to address issues of poverty and Gender Based Violence (GBV), saying “when we did a research on GBV and poverty we realised that there is a high relationship between both of them, over 85% GBV has to do with poverty because of the over dependency on the man. So this is one of the reasons we brought up this project.”

“Looking at the number of reported cases of GBV and what is happening around us today, GBV is on a very high increase, where you will see mostly domestic violence, battering and all that.

“Another aspect of it are the children, where we realised that a lot of men abandon their children. So the mothers don’t even have enough to feed their children or themselves.

“So we looked at it and said how do we help, a situation where you are talking of single mothers, divorced and widows, so our organization in partnership with Black Women Worldwide, design a project called “Voices of Heroes”.

“Under this project, we have different categories of empowerment programs. This is the first we are launching and it is called “Heroes Farming”. Under Heroes Farming we are trying to empower women in vegetable production in their houses which means they don’t have to go far; it is like a backyard farming where they will farm vegetables that they can eat and also sell for income generation.” Mrs. Aisha explained.

She added “under this initiative we have empowered them with five seeds; tomatoes, spring onion, pepper, okra and spinach,. And we provided them with all the startup kits, all the things they need, like fertilizer, the seedling tray, the cocoa peas, even the sacks.

“It is going to be an interesting journey and we will ensure we monitor all the beneficiaries from the first day till 4 months after they might have started harvesting their products. And we are hoping that they set up their backyards for vegetable garden production immediately.

“This project is going to be sustained because as it is now, the seeds we gave them can go for like two circles of production, because we thought them season and off season production. So they can generate income and also food to eat.

“All the beneficiaries are so excited and they are all willing to setup their farms and we are with them, to monitor them through out their journey to success.” She said.

Mrs. Aisha, appreciate their partner, Black Women Worldwide, an organization based in the US, for their efforts and encouragement to see that all black women have a better life and also improve their livelihood.

Early, Barrister Bukola Ajao, an expert in GBV, encouraged the women to make judicious use of the opportunity provide them, not only for their personal gain but also reaching out to their immediate communities.

“Once you get this knowledge, don’t keep it to yourself. If each of you are able to step it down to like other ten women each, it means that ten of you have empowered hundred women. Barrister Ajao, urged them.

She said once a woman is empowered the likelihood of her being violated becomes minimal because at that point she can take up certain responsibilities on her owner without depending on someone else who could take advantage of her and at the same time impact her community positively.

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