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IWEI: Furthering Isa Wali’s women, child empowerment vision

Largely entangled in this poverty related pandemic are women and children. So, when in December last year, the family of His Excellency, Alhaji Isa Wali…

Largely entangled in this poverty related pandemic are women and children. So, when in December last year, the family of His Excellency, Alhaji Isa Wali of blessed memory, decided to resurrect the ideals of their father 43 years after by naming an economic empowerment initiative in his memory, it attracted a memorable ovation from men and women who share the ideal.

The Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative (IWEI), a nongovernmental and nonprofit organization, was established with the aim of transforming the lives of the most vulnerable groups (women and children), through economic empowerment programmes channelled to boosting their confidence and self esteem, and enhance capacity building to motivate them towards a life of economic self reliance and sufficiency.

The mission of IWEI is to give the children and women of Nigeria, an opportunity to escape from the vicious cycle of poverty fostered by long held traditional beliefs through economic empowerment programme and access to qualitative healthcare.

The objectives of the initiative, among others, is to provide a solid platform and the basic building blocks with which the beneficiaries can each construct an independent and a more secured future for themselves, thereby engendering productivity and growth in the society as a whole.

The information contained in the brochure indicates that the initiative recognizes the historic power imbalance between government and beneficiary groups, explaining that government has not evolved sufficient participatory structures for ensuring inclusiveness that the needs of the poor and needy in the society are adequately provided for.

IWEI in its policy thrust insisted that, “while some may argue that the policy making space in Nigeria is typically captured by powerful interests, more often than not in conflict with those of the poor and vulnerable, it is true that pro-poor advocates have not also ensured consistent, coherent and well articulated approach of engagement with government over such issues in the past, leading to a fragmented and variable advice and positions being presented in mostly informal or ad-hoc ways”

As a goal, IWEI is concerned about girl-child education, the role and social position of women and the reduction of maternal and under five mortality rates. It would actively advocate public and legislative policies in areas of economy and education to favour women and children.

During his lifetime, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, Alhaji Isa Wali advocated the need for empowerment of women in Kano for the purpose of self reliance. He believed that an empowered woman translates into better chances of economic empowerment for the child as well as the eventual transformation of family units.

IWEI which was launched in Kano on December 10, 2009 has Maryam Uwais as the chairperson of the Board of Directors. The advisory board of the Foundation is chaired by the Dan Masanin Kano, Alhaji (Dr) Yusuf Maitama Sule, CFR. Other prominent Nigerians like Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais (GCON), Ambassador Isaac J. Sagay, Malam Hafiz Suleiman Wali, OON, Hajiya Fatima Waziri Ibrahim and Major General Suleiman Isa Wali are also on the advisory board.

Meanwhile, the management of the initiative, in a letter of appreciation to the Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of the Media Trust, Malam Kabiru Yusuf, commended his moral support towards the success of the launching, urging him to continue to pray for the success of the initiative to create a better future for the Nigerian society.

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