The wife of the Governor of Akwa Ibom, Mrs Martha Udom-Emmanuel, has won an award at the UN for empowering and uplifting the women and the girl-child in the state.
The award was presented to Mrs Udom- Emmanuel at the UN Headquarters, New York by the International Human Rights Commission.
She bagged the award based on the impacts of her pet project, Family Empowerment and Youths Reorientation Path-Initiative (FEYRep).
The wife of the Akwa Ibom governor was attending the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN Headquarters where she also held a side-event to showcase her project.
The programme, which opened on March 12 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, is scheduled to close on March 23. The Commission’s High Representative at the UN and African Union, Amb. Fouday Mansaray, lauded the activities of FEYRep, saying it is in line with Resolution 1325.
According to him, the project is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) wherein women are given a voice and platform to speak and to participate fully in governance.
Mansaray said “So, what we do is that we try to embody the whole Sustainable Development Goals, not only talk about one issue but look at it from a holistic approach.
“We take education as a vehicle to all of this and our goal is to make sure that we see women in high position in governance, because women bring the entire family into consideration in leadership.
“We work with about 17 States in Nigeria and we do quite an investigative work. We only give two of these certificates per year,” he said.
According to him, the commission has carried out on-the-spot assessment of her projects and those of other governors’ wives in Nigeria.
“We were with 15 governors’ wives at a programme in September 2017, we are mostly impressed with her down-to-earth in-depth approach for widows,” he said.
Mansaray added that the Commission would work with Akwa Ibom because it was taking the extra mile to implement programmes and avenues that would empower women and girls.
Responding, Mrs Udom-Emmanuel said her project was all-encompassing, adding it has empowered thousands of women, girls, widows, youth and the physically-challenged, among others.
She explained that the project was particularly interested in girls’ education and empowerment, noting that there is a reduction in the level of crime now in Akwa Ibom, especially, rape.
She said “Before now, girls were not talking about rape cases. Many of them were raped and their mothers would not allow them to talk about it because of stigmatisation or intimidation. But we have sensitised women, talking about it, telling them to voice out; we go to schools, emphasising our theme, ‘Girl, uphold your dignity’.
“Through that, when a girl is raped now, she will pick up the phone and call FEYRep. The mother will also call that her daughter has been raped”.
She said through her project, many convictions had been secured against rapists, assuring that more rapists will be convicted and rape must come to an end in the state. (NAN)