The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has been commended for improving the lives of no fewer than 363,060 women and children in rural areas of four states in 2017 under her NGO, Future Assured.
The Coordinator of Women Connect Initiative (WCI), Hajiya Murjanatu Suleiman-Shika, applauded Mrs Buhari at a meeting with children and rural women in Makarfi Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was part of activities marking the 47th Birthday of the First Lady.
Suleiman-Shika identified areas covered by the first lady’s NGO to include girl-child education, health, women entrepreneur development, women and girl-child development in agriculture.
She said: “Over 363,060 rural women and children were directly or indirectly reached in 2017 by Future Assured. This is an NGO owned by Her Excellency, Hajiya Aisha Buhari.
“The First Lady through her pet project has touched the lives of 131,053 rural women and 232,007 children across Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Adamawa States alone in 2017.
“The NGO has lived up to the promises and founding principles which it stated during the launch of the organisation the previous year,’’ Suleiman-Shika said.
According to her, it shows the ability and capability of the organisation and women in particular, when given the opportunity to lead.
She said that reaching out to such a number of human beings in just one year was not an easy task, “hence the need to commend and appreciate the First Lady for her gigantic effort’’.
Suleiman-Shika expressed optimism that more people would be reached when other states were considered.
“What we have done is to sample the empowered population in the four states that benefitted and to make calculated induction of the beneficiaries of Future Assured intervention programmes.
“The programmes covered health, education and agricultural enterprise development and the result of our findings was marvellous,’’ she said.
The Director of Programmes, Mr Ihidero Victor, said Future Assured had supported Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) with relief materials like foodstuff, clothing, beddings, plastic containers, mats, blankets and building materials.
“Over six trailers of roofing zinc, roofing and noggin wood, assorted nails and asbestos ceiling have been distributed.
“Future Assured has commenced construction of an orphanage and school primarily for the children in the IDP camps.
“The organisation has distributed improved seedlings, fertilisers and other agricultural inputs, especially in the area of fisheries, livestock and poultry for women.
“It also encourages them to access loan facilities provided by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and Micro-finance banks,’’ Victor said.
He said that the organisation acquired 20 rice milling machines and 25 fish driers for the use of women farmers across the country at no cost to them.
Victor said through programmes like “Get Involved’’, Future Assured had mobilised women as well as other stakeholders to generate funds for the improvement of the nutritional level among malnourished children across the country, especially those in IDP camps. “Over N200 million worth of goods were raised and distributed across the country.
“Again, the Youth Education Empowerment Programme (YEEP) has assisted a large number of youths struggling to transit from secondary to tertiary institutions.
“This is done through tutorial classes for WAEC, NECO, NABTEB and JAMB. YEEP also trains youths to develop writing, communication and public speaking skills.
“Importantly, Future Assured, like Women Connect Initiative, has a Back-to-School project for rural women and Out-of-School girl-children project,’’ he said.
Speaking on behalf of others, a beneficiary of agricultural enterprise and educational training, Malam Habiba Dabo, appreciated Mrs Buhari for what she described as transformatory agenda.