The First Lady of Ondo State and Founder, BeMore Empowered Initiative for Girls Naija, Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has revealed a plan to light up additional 1,000 homes in the state before the end of this year with solar system, through what is tagged ‘Arabinirn Light Empowerment’.
Arabinrin Light Empowerment was birthed from the just concluded BeMore Summer Boot camp where 368 participating girls went back home with Sunking Solar system which they’ve installed to light up their various homes.
The BeMore Founder disclosed this on Tuesday at a Press conference to showcase the BeMore girls’ success stories, as part of activities to mark the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child, held at Rotunda Government house ground, Akure, the state capital.
According to her, “This will go a long way in ensuring that more Ondo girls have access to energy for their basic academic and economic needs”.
She decried the epileptic power supply in Nigeria, which, according to her, has gulped billions of naira without improvement, and therefore, reiterated her commitment to end darkness in the state through the initiative.
Speaking on the theme of the event: ” Digital Generation: Our Generation, Digital Revolution: Not Without Girl”, Mrs Akeredolu reiterated her commitment to promoting digital training for girls through the BeMore initiative.
“So far as we all know especially for those of us conversant with happening in Ondo state, we have trained and empowered over 1500 girls in ICT and solar technology. This is by far the single largest investment in girl STEM education project in Ondo state in the last 20 years.
“I want to encourage you to verify my data, if we’re wrong show us any other direct investment in promoting STEM education for girls in Ondo that is bigger and better than what we have done. It’s a challenge I want us to take especially researchers in the house”, she said.
Mrs Akeredolu hinted that the just concluded BEMORE summer boot camp 2021, which was citizen-driven, gulped about one hundred and thirty million, four hundred and forty-five thousand naira (130,445,000) in providing digital and solar technology training to girls in Ondo state and beyond.
She disclosed that she was suffocated with joy by the feedback she had been receiving from the just concluded Summer Boot camp, noting that the BeMore initiative targeted two areas of technology, that are gender neutral, which are Solar and Information Communication Technology, to brigde the gender-gap in these two fields of life.
“We have also deployed 368 solar home systems across the 18 LGA of Ondo state.
“This also is the second largest single deployment of solar home system in Ondo state aside from the 5000 solar home system programme of the federal government.
“In the last four years we have committed about three hundred and sixty-eight million naira (368,000,000) in promoting digital training for girls.
“We have also distributed 912 laptops between 2017 till date to secondary school girls who have completed the BEMORE ICT training.
“In the last 4 years we have offered digital training to over 1500 secondary school girls across the 18 LGA as part of effort to bridge the gender gap in ICT”.
She asserted that more funds would be committed to strengthening the BEMORE programme to reach more girls, while expressing determination to provide digital and solar training to 2500 girls before April 2023.
She further revealed that beyond providing STEM education for girls, the Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu Foundation, (BAAF), has committed so much in ending all forms of sexual and gender-based violence which has been statistically proven to affect girls more than their male counter parts.
Her words: “So far in 2021 alone, we’ve committed twenty-five million naira (25,000,000) in ensuring that the Ondo girls are protected from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, through training of teachers/counsellors, provision of victim support funds and promotion of awareness.
“We’ve also distributed over 30,000 yellow cards as part of our awareness campaign and strategy to end gender-based violence.
“Passage of VAPP bill into law after 8 years it was passed by the national assembly.
“With OSAA-GBV fully ready to take off, we will be ensuring that more sexual offenders are brought to justice.”, She added.
She emphasised the need to discard the archaic assumption that there are certain things women cannot and or must not do; noting that a girl-child must be recognized and be relevant in the society, which is the vision of the BeMore initiative.
According to her, she would be relentless in mentoring girls to be bold, courageous, educated and informed about the world they are, and prepare them against the challenges ahead, in order to achieve their goals in life.
She said further that only educated and informed women would be able to change the narrative, as only women can solve the problems facing womenfolk.
Some of the outstanding BeMore Alumni including, Marvelous Jegede, a fast-rising entrepreneur with four business ideas, and Christianah Madu, a student Engineer, all shared their experiences on how the BeMore initiative changed their perspectives and orientation about the girl-child.
In attendance at the event were some BeMore girls, BeMore Matrons, members of the Forum of Wives of Ondo State officials and Female Political Appointees, FOWOSO, top female Civil Servants, newly elected President of the National Association of Ondo State Students, NAOSS, and members of Aketi Women group.
Special Assistant to the Governor on Media,
Oct. 12th, 2021.