Bolanle Ambode
  • Distributes empowerment materials to 103 widows

Gboyega Akinsanmi

Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, has explained reasons behind different capacity-building programmes her office regularly organised for members of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO), noting that the programmes “are designed to update their knowledge and expose them to new ideas.”

Also, Ambode empowered at least 103 widows across various age categories with financial assistance, equipment support and skills training programme through her foundation, Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative (HOFOWEM).
She disclosed the reason at a recent one-day training programme organised for COWLSO members at the Retirement Villa, Ajah, noting that the programmes “become imperative to prepare the COWLSO members for the future challenges and opportunities.”

She specifically explained the need for COWLSO members to continually improve themselves for domestic, social and professional purposes, which according to her, formed part of the basis her office and foundation had been organising training programmes for women of different socio-economic strata.
She said constant training was expected “to acquaint the officials with current trends and update their knowledge in relevant and vital areas. Training and re-training is a major component of modern day corporate and public service for performance leverage.

“It is also necessary for individual benefits at home and other engagements outside the home. We hold the view that self-improvement training will bring out optimal performance for those in paid employment. It will also help to bring out the best in us, in various personal businesses and our social interaction.”

Ambode explained the focus of the training programme: Public Speaking, Etiquette, Protocol and Security, noting that it was relevant “to everyday living. The topic on public speaking was essential for everyone in businesses, social relations and for politics.”

She said the mastery of protocol as members of the elite was necessary for proper education to avoid needless embarrassment at public functions where strict adherence to protocol was required.

She cited the empowerment programme her foundation organised for widows recently, noting that deep freezers, industrial gas cookers, photocopiers, grinding machines, embroidery machines, professional cameras, refrigerators, whipping machines and ovens, bag sewing machines, grinding machines, among others were distributed to the widows.
Ambode said her foundation was established with the overriding objective of addressing major challenges confronting women and children, noting that it had benefited some of the most vulnerable that needed support in the state.
She explained the decision of the empowerment programme, attributing it to compassion the foundation “has for not only the widows, but also the vulnerable and its resolve to make them self-reliant by earning regular personal income.”

She noted that her foundation had carefully studied the situation and discovered that this category of persons “is the hardest hit by social circumstances around them. This is the reason our foundation is focusing on them namely: the children, women, widows, the youth and the aged women.

“We therefore decided to enlist the relatively younger widows for training in skills of their choice, to go with monthly allowance and would be supported with business equipment upon graduation, while the other two categories of women would get equipment support or financial assistance to expand their businesses.

“This arrangement is designed to guarantee for you a stable means of income, to help meet your needs, those of your children, as well as your loved ones. It is hoped that this will bring more self-confidence for you, joy into your hearts and smiles to your faces”, she remarked.

Ambode counseled the widows “not to confuse their path with their destination. I leave you with these words of encouragement, do not confuse your path with your destination. Just because it is stormy now does not mean you are not headed for sunshine. Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen to you. Never give up hope.”