My organisation in collaboration with Handmaid Skill Acquisition Initiative(our lead partner) conveners of Handmaid Widows are still working with widows and this Christmas we are empowering so of them with some economic equipment that will be giving them daily income. We called a meeting of all the women kindred heads to submit names of the indigent widows in their respective kindreds.
We started with the brief introduction of the United Nations 16 Days Activism against Gender Based Violence. We acquainted them with the list of what comprises Gender Based Violence - harmful widowhood practices, female disinheritance which is still very high in Avu, Female Genital Mutilation, Psychological Violence, Political Violence, Physical Violence, sexual violence, street harassment and Disinheritance.
Their feedback was that it is the culture and tradition which became very obvious now that urbanisation is encroaching into the community and all communal lands are being parcellated and shared among the male children only. So anyone without male children will get one portion only and those with male children even a day old will get more portions of land. These land issues brought up a lot of confusion and controversy to the extent that boys go and impregnate their girlfriends and demand that lands should not be shared until their girlfriends deliver to ascertain whether the new baby will be a boy or not. That is how bad it got.
Well way forward, we agreed to take up the issue through advocacy to the Council of Chiefs since we do not have a king or traditional ruler right now. So hopefully we will pursue this matter to a reasonable conclusion and be able to effect a change. For sure this will not be easy especially as we do not have a king. We need to start from somewhere and see how far we can go.
Lessons learnt: women can do something about all these issues if they are well informed. They can pull down all forces if they agree and move with one mind towards one goal.
We eventually worked on the list of indigent widows according to their kindreds to be sure no one is left behind. 30 indigent widows will be empowered with different grinding machines according to their flairs to enable them have daily income to take care of themselves and family. These thirty (30) was also according the amount of fund we have been able to raise from individuals philanthropists.
The rest of them will go home with relief materials majorly food and groceries.
We really have our hand full as we are on talent hunt courtesy of a philanthropist who wants to organise a female football tournament. We have written to several government establishments for their supports and presence. The Chairman of Imo State Female footballers have promised to be present to watch out for new talents and also the Imo state football association have given their commitments to send us match commissioners. Preparations are in top gear. All these means there won’t be any holiday for me (us) this yuletide.