#3YEARSINOFFICE: The FOWOSO Experience. Innovative and supportive initiatives from the first lady’s stable 3
- 3. FOWOSO (Foundation for wives of Ondo State Officials and female political appointees).
The roles of women in nation building cannot be overemphasized in the present day definition of sustainable development. More developed countries like the United States and Canada understand this and subsequently have taken deliberate steps towards incorporating women into active roles in Government. For example, as of September 2019, 22% 0f all US cities with more than 30,000 residents had a woman as a mayor (Center for American Women and Politics, 2019). However, less developed countries including Nigeria continue to lag behind, as an undeniable gap between women and men regarding political, economic and social conditions and contributions still exist
In November 2017, and barely one year after the inauguration of the Akeredolu led government, the Wife of the State Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, a renowned female activist who understood that men and women have to work together, hand-in-hand to develop Ondo State sought to create a platform to advance the cause of women in the State. This led to the formation of the Foundation for Wives of Ondo State Officials (FOWOSO) with the sole aim of empowering wives of Ondo State officials and female political appointees to become more influential at the grassroots level in order to ensure that the impact of good governance is felt in rural areas in the State.
Between 2017 and 2018, 1,800 women have been trained on the production of household items, 255 women were trained on how to manufacture wigs and 346 women received training on bead making. Another 706 women were trained on makeover while a total of 493 women received training on shoe making across the 18 LGAs. Not less than 1500 start-up kits were also provided for beneficiaries of the skill acquisition training. In summary, an average of 200 women per LGA have benefitted from the FOWOSO entrepreneurial training.
The FOWOSO empowerment activity in the year under review led to the provision of work tools/equipment for beneficiaries. A total of 204 women received brand new sewing machines, 214 women received one new grinding machine each and 185 women received one hair dryer per woman. In addition, 158 youth received brand new laptops for various purposes. In total, an average of 43 women per LGA received empowerment items.
A minimum of 3,600 women received training on breast self-examination during the FOWOSO medical intervention. At least 1000 women received free medical services including tests such as blood pressure, diabetes and blood sugar. Free drugs were also provided for those who had need for immediate medication. No fewer than 2000 under 5 children were provided with Vitamin A and de-worming tablets while an average of 50 pregnant women per LGA received free multivitamin tablets.