Chioma Ukpabi, Executive Director, Skillup With Kahdsole and Ijeoma Adesanya, Head, Scale Up Lab, Fate Foundation have said that the distribution of sewing machines and tricycles by the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, was not well thought out.
The criticism is a reaction to the distribution of tricycles and sewing machines by the minister as part of her women empowerment programme.
Uju said the empowerment is part of earlier resolve to reduce the rate of unemployment and also to ensure sustainable empowerment of women.
However, the decision has come under severe criticism by Nigerians who believe the empowerment programme has been tried by several administration without making the expected impact in the lives of the beneficiaries.
The experts wondered if the minister conducted feasibility studies and women consultations before embarking on the project.
Chioma said, “I like the fact that our minister is actually thinking of empowering women.
“But sewing machines and just giving tricycles is not solely the solution for women’s empowerment. There are a whole lot of other things. There is more.
“How many sewing machines are you giving out. How many people are you trying to reach out to? Listening to what she said about women becoming better, women not nagging it sounds funny.
“There is more. If you want to empower women, you must consider if they are well-trained and equipped. Tricycle is a business dominated by men. These men have to face tax collectors and argue and women may not have the strength and when they encounter tax collectors and go back home, they will still nag, complain, and get angry.”
She said the minister needs to allow women to be part of the decision process so that proper framework would be in place to monitor the implementation process.
For Ijeoma, she said that the minister has not shown the public how her ministry arrived at the decision and what led to the distribution of sewing machines and tricycle as the best option.
She said, “I think it is important that when you are working with women, you understand the environment they are in. Different communities have different needs and different ways you can empower them.
Ijeoma explained that the ministry ought to have conducted a feasibility study in order to identify the needs of women before embarking on such projects.
She argued that the project needs an implementation plan, monitoring and evaluation structure that would show the impact of distributing sewing machines and tricycles in the areas of job creation and improvement in their welfare.
“For the tricycle, the question should be if women actually need tricycle. Is that the best approach for them? I think capacity building is very important. You have given them the tricycle but they need to be trained on how to grow their business,” she added.
Women Deserve More Than Sewing Machines, Tricycles, Experts Tell Minister is first published on The Whistler Newspaper