From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, on Thursday 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.
He stated this at the graduation of beneficiaries of the 2021/2022 Girls’ Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programme (Project GEST) in Asaba.
The governor said empowerment of the girl-child was essentially to uplift the economic and social status of traditionally under-privileged girls in society, noting that empowerment of the girl-child from ages 18 to 30 had become a major public policy issue.
He said the focus was 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 (communication, decision making, goal setting) 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,” he said.
Okowa urged the beneficiaries to break free from the mindset of mediocrity, advising that to excel in the marketplace, they must make quality products and excellent service delivery their unique selling points.
He stressed that self-belief and self-confidence were essential prerequisites for success in business, and that no prospective client would deal with a businessperson that was unsure of herself or her product.
Special Guest of Honour at the event, Mrs. Tara 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, had said the second cycle known as the “Magnificent 900” scaled through the process maintained focus and crossed the finish line.
She stated that the Project GEST had continued to change the story of so many young girls in Delta by making them well trained entrepreneurs with necessary tools to confront current economic challenges.
She described the beneficiaries as “passionate, powerful, dedicated, and ambitious women from across our great state, who stuck through the process, maintained their focus, and are here today crossing the finish line.
“While the duration of training for 70 of the beneficiaries is currently being extended to further assess their knowledge in their chosen skill, 16, however, failed and will not be graduating.
“Yes, we can say that the girls “Came, They Saw, They Conquered.” Yes, I am proud of all of you, but most importantly, I am sure that you too are all proud of what you have accomplished.”