The First Lady of Ondo State and founder of BEMORE, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has expressed commitment to help fight what she described as ‘Feminized Poverty’ among women.

In a pep talk delivered at BEMORE family reunion tagged Jerusalema Challenge Dance, held at Rotunda, Government House, Alagbaka, Akure, Ondo State Capital, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu said, “My mission is simple and clear: to engender self-awareness among women and girls and equip them to fight feminized poverty.

“You cannot eliminate poverty if you don’t empower women. BEMORE initiative is achored on the mission empower the womenfolk.”

Mrs. Akeredolu said her private efforts in combating the age-long patriarchy inhibitions that have since been limiting the potentials of young girls to aspire to greater heights in life.

She said, “For the past 3 years, through my private Foundation, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation (BAAF), we have strategically approached women empowerment by attempting to confront age-long patriarchy that limits the potentials of young girls to aspire in life and compete favourably with their male counterparts. The BEMORE methodology is strategic for so many reasons.

“First, we take advantage of the young age of our girls. If you like, you could say we “catch them young”. At a younger age, girls compared to older women are more malleable such that it becomes easier to change unfavourable gender perceptions that relegate women to the background as mere second-class humans in almost every sphere of life. This is the only way we can foster a new era of gender equality and equity and ultimately combat feminized poverty.

“Secondly, the BEMORE Academy is a school of life. Our girls receive training on many diverse life enhancing themes such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), health and environment, taekwondo (self-defence), and several entrepreneurial and vocational skills like bead making, shoe making, gele and make-over, tailoring and fashion designing, confectionary, and lots more. The STEM training focuses on basic renewable energy modules -solar panel construction and installation, and Information and communication technology – basic computer appreciation, coding, gaming, etc. “

Anyanwu-Akeredolu said BEMORE initiative in the last three years has proven very impactful and successful, saying, “I remain committed to the development of the girl child.”

“Without mincing words, it has been a memorable and impactful 3 years journey (from 2017 to 2019) in the BEMORE Empowered Academy with wonderful testimonials from over 1000 graduates many of whom have now gone ahead to blaze the trail even in higher institutions of learning and where else they have found themselves. Every BEMORE girl leaves training camp with a brand new ideology and perspective to life as a girl child, and is now ready to confront and overcome societal limitations and leapfrog all gender related obstacles to the development of the girl child. This is the BEMORE legacy.”

“We have made enormous progress, so much that we cannot afford to lose track. I am convinced that the only way we can sustainably achieve women empowerment and combat feminized poverty in Nigeria is to continue to encourage and empower young girls educationally, socially, economically and politically. We must look forward towards a brighter post COVID-19 for our girls. The logic is simple and clear: women are natural caregivers and, when you train a girl you train a nation. As posited in my reference tweet, if a nation must defeat poverty, it must first defeat feminized poverty. Indeed, you cannot eliminate poverty if you don’t empower women, ” Betty Anyawu-Akeredolu said.

The programme featured health talk on Breast Self Examination, special ‘Jerusalema Dance challenge’ presentation by BEMORE girl and fund raising.