In a bid to tackle poverty for women, 500 women were recently empowered by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation, CBAAC in Benin City, Edo State, Precious Ugwuzor reports
As part of effort by the federal government to reduce poverty through women empowerment, the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), organised a two-day Workshop/Training programme for 500 Women in Craft / Entrepreneurship in Edo State, at Bishop Kelly Pastoral Centre, St Paul Catholic Church, off Airport Road, Benin City.
On the first day, the workshop/training, was conducted by Mrs. Roli Nova Agbajor of the Department of Business Administration, University of Benin and Mrs Abiola Deisy, Ms Faith and Inerdia Elizabeth, while it was chaired by Hon. Martins Osakue.
In his opening remark, the chairman of the occasion Hon Osakue thanked the Director General of CBAAC and the Chairman House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, for bringing the workshop/training programme down to Edo South.
He expressed gratitude and opined that the empowerment workshop / training programme would enable the women to build capacity for innovation, sharpen their innate skills that will make them become self-sustaining and employers of labour.
He further stated that a workshop/ training programme of this nature, which combines theory and practice, particularly on entrepreneurship is a welcome idea as most developed countries of the world achieved their feet by enhancing the entrepreneurship skills of their citizens, adding that if we continue with this type of concept, poverty would be reduce to the barest minimum.
On his part, the Deputy Director Research and Publications, Mr Adesegun Dosumu who represented the Director-General of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), Hon Oluwabunmi Amao, welcomed guests to the programme and expressed satisfaction on the large turnout of participants to the event.
He said the programme was conceived due to the realisation that if you want to build a nation, women must be empowered and encouraged to play a key role. That the essence of the programme was to build capacity that would enable the women to innovate.
Accordingly, the event is designed to empower women through culture, which is inexhaustible. That while other resources like petroleum, gas, etc., would someday be exhausted, that knowledge, particularly cultural knowledge, cannot be exhausted.
He thereafter encouraged the women to show commitment and make notes as it will be very useful to them. The Director-General also stated that culturally, the micro economic management of the home fronts fall on the shoulders of women.
“That as societies grow as a result of globalisation and economic liberalisation, it comes very compelling for women to under training in order to innovate to meet up with the current and more difficult challenges of managing the home font in the 21st century.
“That women must as a matter of urgency be prepared to innovate and embrace changes in a more shrinking and dynamic world if they are make any meaningful progress.”
She further stated that CBAAC under her leadership will continue to carry out training programmes and events that are geared towards uplifting the economic capacity of the African woman.
The Chairman House Committee on Culture and Tourism, Hon Omoregie Ogbeide – Ihama, who was present at the workshop/training programme thanked CBAAC for organising the empowerment programme for women in Edo State.
He stated that the programme was a clear demonstration that the federal government is actually making efforts to reduce poverty and unemployment. Therefore, he encouraged participants to take the training exercise very serious as it has the capacity of taking them out of their present economic state to a much more fulfilling and rewarding state of life.
He also promised that as a parliamentarian, that they will continue to assist the centre through policy directives and oversight functions that would enable CBAAC to achieve her statutory mandate – that of promoting and propagating for enhanced understanding and appreciation the rich cultural heritage of Black and African peoples globally.
The lecture on Craft and Entrepreneurship was delivered by Mrs Roli Nova Agbajor of the University of Benin. She started her training by first defining the meaning of entrepreneurship as a business venture owned and finance by an individual, adding that the good thing about being an entrepreneur is that one does not need so much money to get started.
To be an entrepreneur she said, one must have an idea of what he or she wants to do – that is, conceptualisation of a Business Plan; Capital; Location; Managerial skill; the kind of products / services the person wants to render, the target market, etc, adding that the understanding of these factors would go a long way to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
She explained that the skills that will be taught during the course of the programme – Beads making, Hair-braiding and Tie & Dye only require little capital to commence; that the most important thing is acquiring the needed skill. That once the necessary skill is acquired, proper management of the capital invested is important in order to reduce risks and grow profit.
On the issue of location of the business, particularly a start-up business like Beads, Tie & Dye and Hair-Braiding, the lecturer explained that due to the high cost of renting a business space, a prospective entrepreneur may start from her apartment as the business does not occupy much space.
She stressed on the need to have additional sources of income even when one has a white kola job, and stated further that the varied social media platforms have helped in eliminating the need for shops especially for small businesses.
Mrs Roli Nova Agbajor encouraged the participants to make judicious use of their phones in marketing their skills and creative products.
The workshop/training for the day two of the programme which was on Bead Making, Hair-Braiding and Tie & Dye was conducted by Mrs Abiola Deisy, Mrs Faith, and Inedia Elizabeth. While the lead speaker Mrs Abiola Deisy gave a theoretical overview of the three key elements of the programme, others handled specific areas and conducted the practical aspects.
In her presentation, Mrs Abiola said that beads are unique element of culture used in adorning and embellishing ones dress also serve as mark of royalty that distinguish royal families from their subjects.
She also stated that beads have a long history among Africans and are used for various reasons. They are cultural symbols used in celebration of womanhood, sexuality, femininity, fertility, healing, spirituality, protection, etc. the meaning, colours and different shapes of beads varies from one culture to the other.
Besides their physical adornment, beads are among the oldest known symbols used by humans across time and space. Beads have social, cultural, political and religious significance in Africa, as the continent more than any other region of the world, has used bead more prominently.
The facilitator also emphasised on the unique importance of beads as one of the earliest occupation that provided steady source of income to those involved in the bead making occupation. Thereafter, the facilitators taught the participants the rudiments of bead making and methods of designing different type of beads; from the royal beads to the common beads.
On Tie & Dye fabric, she said that tie & dye also represents one of the foremost trade in Africa. That the varied designs of African fabric such as adire, akwate, kente captured the attention of the early European missionaries in Africa, and these were flourishing occupational trades.
Same also goes with Hair-braiding, which the speaker said was enhanced the beauty and elegance of the African woman. Beads, Tie & Dye and Hair-braiding were unique elements of fashion that provided and keep providing millions of jobs to both women and men in Africa. if properly harnessed and deployed, they have the potentials of reducing unemployment significantly.
The talk was followed by the practical demonstration and training on how to make Beads, Tie &Dye and Hair-Braiding by Mrs Faith and Inedia Elizabeth.
At the end of the workshop/training programme, the following objectives were achieved as outlined that participants gained skills and useful insights on the techniques of Bead making, tie & dye and Hair-Braiding. This they practically demonstrated at the end of the training exercise.
As a result of the on the spot training and assessment technique adopted, it is safe to say that participants have the basic understanding and have acquired skills to innovate as they created new designs.
With what they have learnt in the course of the training, there is no doubt that the participants would put what they have been taught into practice and their energies will be channelled in using their new skills to productive use.
In all, more than 500 women attended the workshop/training and at the end of the very successful Workshop / Training programme, certificates of participation were issued to participants.
The workshop/training which was a resounding success exposed participants to the different techniques on Beads making, Tie & Dye and Hair -Braiding as well as how to make them into unique designs, different shapes and sizes, and how their skills and knowledge of craft can be deployed to generate income and employment.
Women must as a matter of urgency be prepared to innovate and embrace changes in a more shrinking and dynamic world if they are make any meaningful progress