Dewdrop Foundation held a project inception meeting in Umuode community, Enugu State on Saturday, December 3rd 2022. The objective of the meeting was to introduce our 18-month Women Empowerment and Inclusive Governance project to them as one of the key stakeholders in the community, discuss the implementation strategies & expected outcomes and also to solicit the support of the cabinet towards the implementation of the project.

Our project on Women Empowerment and Inclusive Governance was introduced as an 18-month project funded by Oxfam through the Voice program in Nigeria. The project is a consolidation and up scaling of the outcomes of our previous Inclusive Governance project implemented in 2018 with an aim to build the leadership capacities of more women in the community to confidently participate in and take leadership roles, demand for and access resources especially land resources for economic empowerment. The project will be implemented using our GHEEES (Governance, Health, Education, Environment, Enterprise and Security) model for sustainable community development.

The project will adopt the strategy of leadership trainings and workshops for women to impact various leadership skills to them which will enable them to confidently identify the issues which they would want to address for community growth and development under the GHEEES model. This will help them to also track their progress and measure their outcomes. The team extended a formal invitation to the community stakeholders to the upcoming Inception meeting, this is to keep them better informed on the project activities and expected outcomes and also enable them to monitor the outcomes.

The Executive Director Dewdrop Foundation, Mrs. Agatha Nnaji, warmly welcomed and appreciated everyone present for making out the time to join us at this project inception meeting. A formal introduction of the Dewdrop Foundation team was made. Mrs. Nnaji began with a brief overview of DDF’s women empowerment projects. Recounting on the outcomes of the previous project implemented in 2018, she mentioned some of the outcomes under our GHEEES model which includes;
• Governance – Inclusive leadership with women enlisted as part of the Igwe’s cabinet and the Town Union.
• Health – Building of a Health center in the community.
• Education – Quality education for the children and youths in Nursery, Primary and Secondary schools. State Government approval for the Community secondary school to partake in the West African Examination Council (WACE) at both junior and senior levels.
• Environment – Enactment of the no cutting of trees law in the community to protect the environment.
• Security – The community is working on intensifying the security while providing food security.

Ms. Nkemka Nwobu of DDF gave a brief introduction of the Women Empowerment and Inclusive Governance project 2022. The Women Empowerment and Inclusive Governance in Umuode Community is a Voice-Nigeria funded project. The project aims to consolidate and scale up the outcomes earlier achieved by expanding the project’s reach and building the capacities of more women in leadership and strategic advocacy aimed at promoting women’s access to resources, specifically land for enhanced economic empowerment, thereby reducing their economic vulnerability. A key expected outcome of this project is to enable women demand and obtain access to land resources for cooperative farming and sustainable income generation as well strengthen their confidence in taking up leadership positions in the community and at all levels. This would reduce their economic vulnerability, enhance their self-reliance, amplify their voices in the community and protection from sexual exploitation and violence

Mrs. Nnaji gave a brief overview of the project’s activities which includes selection of women community project volunteers. An induction of the community volunteers would be done where they will be duly informed on the terms of reference/roles expected to play in the project. There will be leadership workshops/trainings for women where they will be equipped with the relevant required knowledge and skills for effective and efficient leadership.

The Onowu of the community appreciated the efforts of Dewdrop Foundation towards the implementation of various projects that foster community growth and development. Regarding the planned leadership trainings, he enquired to know if there are any set age limits for the participants of the leadership training.

The PG of the Town Union suggested for the age limit to be removed so as to have a more inclusive participation at the training. He also suggested that the training be organised in two cohorts with the first cohort involving the incumbent community leaders while the second cohort involve the general community members including teenagers/youths. He further suggested for the leadership trainings to have a set target audience and each audience to be grouped and training resources tailored to address each group.

The chairperson Umuode Women, Mrs. Faithful, suggested for only youths 18years and above should be included in the training for a better understanding and also to achieve measurable outcomes.

Mrs. Anthonia Anike, one of the women representative in the Igwe’s cabinet suggested that some of the Seenagers and People living with disabilities be a part of the leadership trainings as well. She further identified some other needs of the community that affects the women such as domestic violence, the need to get the eke market square fully utilized by women to sell their farm proceeds on the community market days.

His Royal Highness, Igwe Moses Idenyi the Ode II of Umuode stated the importance of parents being trained at the workshops to equip them better to guide and train their children who are the youths of the community. He stated that most parents need to learn their leadership obligations because if the youths are well admonished from the homes they will show good and responsible behaviour in the community. He further encouraged the DDF team to do the best they can with the trainings so as to achieve good outcomes.

Mrs. Nnaji giving an overview of some of the project activities stated that the leadership trainings will be done for the youths, the leaders and Seenagers. There will be an SME advisory training for the women and men groups.

Some of the women gave a brief feedback on the rice farming done by the women and the many potentials/benefits of rice farming to the community. They noted the need to invest in an industrial rice destoner and tractor to aid the farming of rice easier for them. The women have undergone trainings on the various uses of rice such as; making of rice flour, cereal and so on. They would require more capital to purchase the materials needed.

Mrs. Nnaji further talked about enterprise training for the women where they will be taught quality control, branding/packaging of products etc. She suggested that the Igwe and the Town Union PG intensify efforts to get the Umuode skills center well equipped to give the women and youths the opportunity for more enterprise initiatives. Mrs. Nnaji stated that DDF with the approval of the community leaders will lend a voice to the identified community needs especially working towards putting an end to domestic violence against women. She said women are to be protected from any form of gender based violence.

H.R.H Igwe Moses Idenyi appreciated DDF for the beautiful and innovative plans presented to empower the Umuode women and in turn foster community development. He requested that the community be allowed some time to discuss within themselves to nominate stakeholders and community voluneers to work with the DDF team on this project. This would enable community leaders effectively monitor the outcomes of the project.

• An overview of the Women Empowerment and Inclusive Governance project was given.
• A brief summary of the planned project activities was discussed.
• The overview of the outcomes of the Inclusive project of 2018 was discussed.
• The community identified some of their needs to be addressed through this project.
• DDF solicited for community stakeholder’s support towards achieving the expected outcomes of the project.
• The need for men and youths to participate in the planned leadership trainings was identified.

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