TotalEnergies, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) in partnership with the Society for Family Health (SFH-A360) recently gave an economic boost to the future of 35 young girls in Ogun State.
For Oluwatobiloba, Rohimat, Halimat, Temitope, and thirty-one other girls ages between 15 and 19 years, theirs is one dream come true as each received gifts of empowerment to boost their economic future and own their businesses.
The occasion was the graduation and close-out ceremony of the six-month-long TotalEnergies Health and Economic Empowerment Project (THEEP) Phase 2 in which the girls were trained as caterers and creative fashion designers.
According to the Assistant Practice Lead, Corporate Philanthropy at SFH, Jane Adizue, who coordinated the programme, the lucky young girls were selected for the economic empowerment training among 3,563 participants.
According to Adizue, all the girls had earlier undergone an initial six months’ training by SFH-A360 on improved access to reproductive health knowledge and services in the state.
She said, after the selection process from across communities of Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area, the girls became qualified to undergo rigorous training in catering and creative fashion designs at Solbot International Fashion/Catering School, Ijoko, Ota.
TotalEnergies in collaboration with NNPCL supported SFH-A360 to fund the empowerment starter packs that were handed over to the girls at their graduation.
Each of the girls dressed in their graduation attire filed out to receive the starter packs and a certificate each, which were handed over by the wife of the Ogun State Governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, represented by Dr. Olufunke Oyeneye.
Managing Director of TotalEnergies Upstream Nigeria Limited, Mr. Mike Sangster, represented by Mrs. Adesuwa Adewole noted that the participation of the company in the project is borne out of conviction that it must help young people to learn, grow and become financially independent for a secured future.
This, she said is in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals No. 1–(No Poverty), No. 2–(Zero Hunger), No. 3-(Good Health and Well-being), No. 5-(Gender Equality) as well as Goal No. 8 – (Decent Work and Economic Growth).
The Executive Secretary Ogun State Primary Healthcare Board(OGSPHCB)), Dr. Elijah Ogunsola described the intervention of the partners as a right step in the right direction.
According to Ogunsola, “It is gladdening that the intervention about health is no longer stopping at educating our girl-child on the importance of having good healthcare, but taking it further; because for you to buy health, for you to purchase health, you must be empowered.
He noted that with the 9ja-girls’ programme of SFH and its new economic empowerment project, SFH has finally got how to break the cycle of poverty.
According to him, by ensuring that the cycle of adolescent education and training does not end in peer education or teaching the girl child on how to negotiate sex or take care of herself in pregnancy only, is powerful; with an added economic empowerment, she can go ahead to purchase health whenever she needs it”, Ogunsola affirmed.
There was an outpour of emotions from the beneficiaries and their parents each time a graduand was called up the podium to receive the certificate of participation and to pick up the starter packs.
The categories of the packs included sewing machines, electric irons and ironing boards, gas cookers, gas cylinders, and cooking utensils of various sizes among several other gifts.
One the graduands, Rohimat told Healthstyleplus, “I’d been written off by friends because my parents could not afford to send me to further my studies and I always loved to cook and bake.
“The opportunity came for me when I was selected and I am happy today, my dream is being fulfilled and my parents are also happy”, Rohimat said.
Mrs. Sadiq was full of prayers as she testified to how her daughter”s new life as a creative fashion designer has transformed the family in a short while. She appealed for more such social programmes so that the lives of many more girls can be transformed.
The wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Abiodun congratulated the beneficiaries and their families urging the girls to be great ambassadors of the state by multiplying their skills for the economic future benefit of the country.
Mrs. Abiodun identified cultural and societal inhibitions as reasons girls’ education does not thrive in many parts of the country.
She commended TotaEnergies, SFH A360, and other partners for contributing to reaching over 9000 girls in the state.
Abiodun requested for more assistance in reducing social and economic burden as well as gender-based violence in the state.
According to Mrs. Abiodun, “We must continue to invest in our girls’ education and empowerment, as they are the backbone of our communities and the future of our nation.
“We need to create a supportive and enabling environment that allows our girls to thrive and reach their full potential”, said Mrs Abiodun.