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Enabling the rural woman to combat COVID-19

By Jovitta Iorshase

The government, spirited individuals, and families ought to pay more attention to the welfare of women, particularly in the face of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and food crises currently affecting the nation.

The mental revival of a woman, particularly the rural woman from depression (which according to experts is a major cause of madness) misfortune among others is long overdue.

The rural woman who is key to the production of food and other needed things for smooth existence has to be, physically, mentally and socially kept in a stable atmosphere to enhance productivity. The uncertainties and difficulties of life in recent times occasioned by nature have encroached so much on the Agricultural sector posing a greater danger of food insecurity and starvation to those who may be fortunate to survive COVID-19 and other diseases, herdsmen attacks, militancy, bad roads, lack of potable drinking water, just to mention but a few.

The rural women who should have been on the farm working to compliment the efforts of the Government have been stuck in various IDP camps in the state with no hope of returning to their ancestral homes to continue with their usual life styles and vocations.

This has created a vacuum so difficult to fill. Hence, the call on all relevant stakeholders, particularly the Ministry of women Affairs and Social Development with the Ministry of Agriculture to collaborate efforts to address the pending doom.

It is rather disappointing that even with the emotional and physical stress as well as the mental imbalance some women go through due to reoccurring attacks, losing of husbands, children and other loved ones, the Benue woman is still left alone to recuperate with no form of external support from any group.

There is neither certified security for their safety nor material support, leaving even the determined at the mercy of armed herdsmen and other forms of insecurity.

The normal tradition with the Nigerian security apparatus is ‘hit and chase: No one ever has a fore-knowledge of what would happen. And after it happens, finding perpetrators is usually an uphill task for them. When and how such an ill can be corrected still remains a mystery with the government appearing already exhausted.

Recently, farm produce were given to women in Nasarawa State for the commencement of dry farming season.

This is exactly what the Benue rural woman need, coupled with constant awareness on how to manage these resources and home crisis in other to maintain at least a seemingly peaceful atmosphere/environment for development.

Speaking with Mrs. Tartor Chianson, chairman, Kwande Local Government Area on the issue recently with The Voice correspondent, she said.

I think for building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19 is by strengthening their sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing. Rural women play a vital role in enhancing agricultural and rural development through eradicating poverty in the area” and as agents of change, fighting hunger and poverty, so that in need to support and recognise them in the local communities.

It goes by saying that “women make up one quarter of the world’s population including the rural women and they are employed to work on terms and produce food. Unfortunately, they face many challenges. They lack access to education, healthcare, and these rural women make significant contributions in most areas.

I can go on and on to talk of this issue, because the role they play is highly noted. The women are food providers at any point in time. They are the key agents for development. Through their work, they transform economic, environmental and social changes that are required for substantial development.

All I have to say is that, issues that affect their lives, such as improved food and nutrition, better rural livelihoods should be addressed. Train them with skills to pursue new livelihoods and adopt technology to their needs, give them opportunities to contribute as men”.

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