By Friday Idachaba

Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria,Ene Obi has called on Kogi State Government to take over and continue with the various Community development intervention programmes supported by the international Non-Governmental Organisation under its Local Rights Programme (LRP).

Obi who made the call at the Kogi LRP and Close Out Ceremony of the programme at Riverton Hotel, Lokoja, said the 14-year intervention programme in the state had addressed issues of poverty, women rights, access to facilities and livelihood support among others.

The Country Director, represented by Mrs Funmilayo Oyefusi, Director Organisational Effectiveness, said ActionAid intervened in Adavi and Igalamela-Odolu Local Government Areas of Kogi State where it drew poverty map to identify communities that were poor and had little access to government.

She said that the the programme commenced in 2007 after a comprehensive baseline survey mapping which showed urgent need to respond to the varied resultants challenges associated with poverty in 14 communities.

Also speaking, Director of Programmes, ActionAid Nigeria, Hajia Suwaiba Muhammed Dankabo, describe the LRP as a unique programme.

She said it was designed to unleash the potentials of persons living in communities and make them play pivotal roles in the decisions and actions that affect their lives and communities.

The Director Programmes the intervention had developed their capacity to interrogate prevailing challenges in their communities and take necessary actions.

According to her, it also enabled them to be responders rather than being on-lookers and bystanders in the process of the development of their communities and their collective well-being.

Advisor, Partnerships and LRP, ActionAid Nigeria, Osamudiamen Owens-Akinwale, in her overview of the programme said more than 30,000 women, children, farmers and Persons Living With Disabilities were cumulatively reached in the state.

She said that they were also structural changes in the traditional rites customs which hitherto, forbade women from the use of farm tools such as hoe as well as the reduction in the mourning period for widows from nine months to three months in most of the communuties.

Owens-Akinwale also urged the state government to inherit and take charge of the programme, saying, “We are leaving Kogi State not crying but happy, because, we are living a bit of ourselves behind for the government to continue from where we stopped.”

She described some of the key achievements of the programme as “Reversal of age-long practices in communities where women were excluded from land ownership, patriarchal inheritance and other gender discriminatory practices.

She said the intervention had resulted in Increase in the promotion of girl-child education, drastic reduction in reported cases of Gender-Based Violence in the communities and enhanced agro-ecology practice among smallholder women farmers.

Highlights of the Learning and Close Out Meeting include Experience Sharing, Presentation of Certificates of Recognition and plagues to LRP partners and communuties as well as goodwill messages. (Ends)

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