Delta State Government has empowered 814 young women with skills and starter packs as part of its job and wealth creation programmes in the state.
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa who addressed the beneficiaries at the graduation of the 2021/2022 Girls’ Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programme (GEST) in Asaba, said that 814 graduated out of the 900 that participated.
Okowa said that 70 had extension while 16 participants failed the programme.
He said his administration’s passion for girl-child empowerment was predicated on the need to break away from issues of gender discrimination, poverty and low self-esteem among young women.
Okowa said that empowerment of the girl-child was essential to uplift the economic and social status of traditionally under-privileged girls in society.
He noted that empowerment of the girl-child from ages 18 to 30 had become a major public policy issue.
“Six months ago, the second cycle of trainees under the Girls’ Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programme (GEST) commenced.
“It gives me great pleasure today to witness their inauguration into the world of business and entrepreneurship.
“It is instructive that this event is taking place 48 hours after the 2022 International Women’s Day, with the theme `Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow’.
“The focus is on how to ‘Break the Bias’ that women face every day in the global marketplace and thereby accelerate gender parity, equality, inclusion, and diversity.
“This is in tandem with the philosophy of GEST, which is to tackle the issues of gender discrimination, poverty, early/forced marriage, identity crisis, social and parental pressure, poor life skills and low self-esteem, among young women.
“Today, as we resource and unleash 814 young women into the business world, we can beat our chests that this administration is recording significant milestones in breaking the bias against women in business,” Okowa said.
On her part, the governor’s wife, Dame Edith Okowa ascribed the success of the programmes to God, while urging beneficiaries to remain resilient and upright in carrying out their enterprise.
Mrs Tara Fela-Durotoye, who was the Special Guest of Honour, said the beneficiaries were true champions for enduring through tough times during the training to emerge victorious in their chosen careers.
Fela-Durotoye urged the beneficiaries to build their businesses to last by leaving a lasting impression in the minds of their customers.
Earlier in her welcome address, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Girl-Child Empowerment, Mrs Marilyn Okowa-Daramola, said that the second cycle known as the “Magnificent 900” scaled through the process, maintained focus and crossed the finish line.
Okowa-Daramola said that Project GEST had continued to change the story of many young girls in Delta by making them well trained entrepreneurs with necessary tools to confront current economic challenges.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the various awards were presented to the most outstanding trainees.
The highpoint of the events was the presentations of starter packs to the 814 beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries were trained in 10 skills areas namely photography, videography, ICT (Website Development & Graphics Design), baking/confectioneries, leather works, professional cleaning services, fashion design, hairdressing and make-up.(NAN)