2015 LAPO INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY CELEBRATION SPEECH
Special Guests of Honour
Community and Civil Society Leaders
Members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Board of Directors, members and staff of Lift Above Poverty Organization (LAPO), I warmly welcome you to this occasion put together by the organization to commemorate the 2015 International Women’s Day.
LAPO is a leading non-governmental organization, committed to the social, health and economic empowerment of the poor and the vulnerable across the country. Since its inception in 1987, the organization has demonstrated unwavering commitment to poverty alleviation through the implementation of innovative credit and non-credit empowerment programmes.
Each year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 all over the world with thousands of events to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women while calling for greater equality. The global theme this year, Empowering Woman and Empowering Humanity, Make It Happen, is aimed at encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women. LAPO fully understands that gender relations, inequalities and economic powerlessness are fundamental causes of poverty and thus has been channelling her energy, effort and resources into processes that will promotes the socio-economic status of women and creating a society that values women and their contributions to societal development.
In 2014, LAPO built the capacity of 50,977 women to resist and confront obnoxious socio-cultural and traditional practices militating against their progress. 194,330 women were educated on health issues, causes and management of common diseases, leading to increased health consciousness and positive living amongst community members while 126,705 others, majority of whom are women, were screening for malaria, blood pressure (BP), hepatitis, diabetes and other ailments. This intervention has improved early detection and management of common diseases among the vulnerables in Nigeria. The LAPO Microfinance Bank provided financial services to 1.41 million clients, 92% of these are women.
For us in LAPO NGO, we have chosen Women Economic Advancement: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow as our sub-theme. This is aimed at showcasing the efficacy of economic empowerment as a catalyst for women’s financial independence, inclusion in decision making and participation. An enlightened and economically empowered woman from our experience guarantees the future of the girl-child whose access to education or skill is secured.
As we celebrate the International Women’s Day this year, LAPO honours and celebrates clients of LAPO Microfinance Bank. These are women who through sheer determination, hard work and uncommon commitment have surmounted obstacles to become successful in the world of business. We share in the experiences, the spirit and stories of these women, looking through their eyes at their yesterday, today and their dreams for tomorrow.
We thank the paper presenter, Dr. Nosa Aladeshelu, an educationist, a politician and advocate for the rights of women for accepting to be with us today.
We appreciate the Chairperson of today’s occasion, Professor Christiana Okogie who always honours our call in spite of her busy schedule. We are grateful to all the distinguished personalities who have come here today.
Once again, I welcome you all to this occasion. Together, let us work for the attainment of women’s rights, empowerment and gender equality as we strive to eliminate poverty and promote sustainable development. Equality for women is progress for all!
Thank you and God bless you all.
Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe
Managing Director, LAPO Microfinance Bank
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