The Women’s Right to Education Programme (WREP), an NGO, has trained 45 women from mining communities in Nasarawa State on the production of liquid soap and hand sanitiser.
The Programme Officer of WREP, Mrs Hauwa Ikediugwu, said this on Thursday at two-day training in Lafia.
Reports state that the trainees were drawn from Alizaga and Bashiri communities in Nasarawa Eggon and Doma in Doma Local Government Areas.
Ikediugwu said the training became imperative due to the impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods, especially of women.
According to her, research has shown the devastating impact of the pandemic on women with their small businesses shut down.
“We decided to look at how the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 affected businesses in artisanal mining communities in Nasarawa and Benue States where the business is prevalent.
“We identified three mining communities in Nasarawa – Alizaga, Bashiri in Nasarawa Eggon as well as Doma in Doma Local Government Areas where we selected 15 women each for the training.
“The training is to cushion the economic impact of COVID-19 on the livelihood of the women by exposing them to alternative and new streams of income rather than have them depend only on their mining business.
“We believed that with the training in entrepreneurial skills such as liquid soap and hand sanitiser production, they can also transmit to teach others and their children in order to make money,” Ikediugwu said.
She said that apart from the training in soap and hand sanitiser production, the beneficiaries would be a start-up for their businesses.
In his remarks, Mr Ochimana Matthew, Mines Environmental Compliance officer, Nasarawa State, lauded the organiser for the initiative saying it would go a long way to ameliorate the plight of the women.
Mathew noted that the pandemic had crashed the businesses of artisanal miners as their products were no longer being exported, thereby affecting the economic well-being of the miners and their families.
He charged the benefitting women to take advantage of the training to boost the economic fortunes of their families.
Reports state that the women were also trained on their menstrual hygiene management and how to make reusable sanitary pads.
Mr Tine Ageno, a resource person, said that the training of the women on alternative means of livelihood would help to relieve the burden on their husbands, thereby, leading to reduction in incidences of gender based violence.
According to Ageno, menstrual hygiene management is important for the health, wellbeing and productivity of the women.
“We discovered that the issue of menstruation in the rural communities has been shrouded in a lot of taboos which had adversely affected the health of women.
“There is the need for concerted efforts to address the taboos to help women manage their menstrual hygiene properly,” he said.
He added that the women were also trained on how to make reusable sanitary pads that could also be sold to make more money for their families.
Some of the beneficiaries, Blessing Osede and Amina Ibrahim, thanked the NGO for the training.
Osede, a mother of seven said the skills she acquired on soap making would boost her family’s income as she would produce for sale and domestic use.
She said that the liquid soap making process thought to them was affordable as she could make large quantity with small amount of material.
On her part, Ibrahim said the training had impacted her greatly having come from a rural community and never exposed to such in the past.
She promised to venture into the liquid soap production and hawk it around community.
She was also excited about how to manage her menstrual hygiene through the production of reusable sanitary pads.