L-R: Charles Ojakovo, Group Head, South-South 2, Heritage Bank; Uwabuofu Obiageli and Ebome Rachael, both beneficiaries and cash prize winners of N100, 000 of the 4th Phase of Women Empowerment Skill Acquisition Programme (WESAP); Dame Edith Okowa, Her Excellency, Wife of Delta State Governor; Okposio Sarah, Michael Adetola, Experience Centre Manager of Heritage Bank and Mrs. Flora Alatan, Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, at the 4th Phase of WESAP in partnership with Heritage Bank in Asaba, Delta State.

Delta State Government has commended the uncommon commitment of Heritage Bank Plc in its unrivaled support towards the economic empowerment of vulnerable and poor women across the State.

His Excellency, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State Governor, while delivering the keynote address gave this submission at the 4th Phase of Women Empowerment Skill Acquisition Programme (WESAP) in Asaba, Delta State.

Okowa who was represented by his wife, Her Excellency Dame Edith Okowa hinted that the State Ministry of Women Affairs has empowered over 1,460 women across 25 Local Government Areas in different phases from 2020 till date. This is inclusive of the 325 beneficiaries who are being equipped with tools today after intensive training to perfect their skills to lift them out of poverty and enhance their participation in the economy.

“Empowering our womenfolk is an integral part of this administration’s economic policies, which prioritizes the poor and vulnerable. Since we came on board in May 2015, we have undertaken several measures through the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development to lift our women out of poverty and enhance their participation in the economy,” he stated.

He also decried the marginalization of women, especially in politics and the economic sector, whilst stating that women yet remain indispensable vehicles for creating wealth, boosting the economy, and building more stable families in their multiple roles as mothers and community leaders.

“I am confident that the 325 women (beneficiaries) in the following skills: Confectionaries, Makeover/Headgear (Gele) tying, Decoration/event management, Hair Dressing, Fashion/Design that are being empowered today will make the State Government proud and will bring good returns on investment,” Okowa affirmed.

Delivering her goodwill message earlier, Osepiribo Ben-Willie, Executive Director of Heritage Bank Plc, commended Senator Okowa for being intentional about the empowerment of women, through equipping them with different skills, starter packs, and boosting petty traders’ businesses with cash grants-thereby availing them the capacity to fend for their families welfare, contribute to the economic development of the State and ultimately improving their standard of living.

Represented by the bank’s Group Head, South-South, Charles Ojakovo, Ben-Willie confirmed that Heritage Bank has been in the vanguard of promoting financial literacy and inclusion, which informed their interaction with the beneficiaries of WESAP to equip them with appropriate skills in making the best of the scheme.

Whilst encouraging the WESAP beneficiaries to put the seed into use to yield more investments, Ben-Willie promised that Heritage Bank would continue to lend support to causes that promote women’s empowerment, as this will impact positively on the nation’s socio-economic development.

The Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Mrs. Flora Alatan urged the 325 beneficiaries of WESAP not to misuse the opportunity availed them by the State Government to become better entrepreneurs to improve their livelihoods.