Posted by By Toyin Osawe on
The 8th of March is recognised worldwide as the International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate womanhood and extol its virtues.
The 8th of March is recognised worldwide as the International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate womanhood and extol its virtues. It is also a day to discuss its travails and proffer the way forward. Thus every organisation in the business of elevating womanhood usually engages itself in one activity or the other to mark that day.
Thus, in the spirit of that day and all it stands for, The Women’s Optimum Development Foundation (WODEF) on March 15, at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Lagos, honoured some women who have been outstanding in their quest to better humanity.
The occasion, which was an interactive session, featured talks on various issues affecting women. Mr. Tom Odenigwe, who was the UNFPA representative at the occasion, said that girls make up two-thirds of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
This, he said, has led to a collapse of the coping system in the rural areas where the women took care of the family and worked at the same time. He reiterated that although the ABC (Abstinence-Be faithful-Condom use) approach have been successful to a large extent, there is need to build on it by advancing gender equality and empowerment and promoting reproductive health and reproductive rights.
In the same vein, Dr. Uchendu Alaefula, while confirming the statistics of PLWHA as not favouring the women, said the campaign will no longer be business as usual. He demonstrated what he meant when he presented to the audience a seropositive woman to make the message clearer to skeptics of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
On another note, Chief Mrs. Bisi Ogunleye (popularly called Mama COWAN), who delivered a talk on peace and nation-building, said that our national policies often overlook the socio-cultural peculiarities of Nigeria. She said that peace is a sine qua non for any meaningful national development to take place and as such, the onus is on all Nigerians to ring the peace bell. Other speakers were Dr. Ibrahim (CEDPA), Mr. Femi Jarett (ARDA), Prof. Jadesola Akande, Mrs. Ajoke Mohammed, Mrs. Alaja Brown and Mrs. Theresa Akumadu.
The highlight of the occasion was the Rare Gems Award 2004, whereby seven women were honoured. The rare gems for 2004 were Elder (Chief Mrs.) Ada K. Agwu (JP), Mrs Florence A. Omotoyinbo, Mrs. Victoria Abosede Obakoya, Mrs Debrah M.A. Ogazumah, Ms. Egondu Esinwoke, Lady Bridget Onah and Prof. Jadesola Akande.
These women came tops after a series of nominations nation-wide and they represent various areas of human endeavour.
The climax of the occasion was the cutting of a birthday cake by Mrs Bimbo Oloyede, President and founder of WODEF, who turned fifty on that day.
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