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Group to empower widows to mark World Suicide Prevention Day

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Participants at business empowerment programme to mark World Suicide Prevention Day in Ibadan

From Stella Obi, Ibadan  

ON September 10, the globe marked World Suicide Prevention Day. The day is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The aim of the event is to provide worldwide commitment and measures to prevent suicides. Objectives of the Day also include promoting stakeholder collaboration and self-empowerment to address self-harm and suicide through preventative action.

This year’s World Suicide Prevention Day was themed, “Creating Hope through Action”.         

To mark the 2021 World Suicide Prevention Day in Ibadan, a humanitarian group PeaceMakers (PM) Guide in conjunction with BTG Africa /Delight Owoyemi Foundation organised a business empowerment programme to empower fifty widows.

The event which was held at the Social Welfare Centre Ibadan and entitled “Suicide and its causative effects among young people” is projected at empowering distressed women and those that depend on criminal acts and armed violence for their living at the community level. 

Speaking during the event Director General of PM Guide, Prof. Ademola George stated that more than eight hundred thousand people die globally due to suicide every year and about 1.8million people is estimated to die due to suicide by the year 2030.

According to him, the risk factors which trigger suicide could be traced to mental disorders, previous suicide attempts, specific personality characteristics, genetic loading and family processes in combination with triggering psychosocial stressors, unemployment, sexual orientation, domestic violence.

Prof George observed that youth suicide constitutes a major public health problem saying that it ranks as a leading cause of death among the young worldwide.

Contributing  the co-founder of BTG Africa, Mr Delight Owoyemi, noted that to curb the rate of suicide in the society is to empower women, especially widows saying this would prevent them from committing suicide but rather give them hope and reasons to stay alive.

To celebrate his fiftieth birthday, Owoyemi said he would give out the sum of fifty thousand naira each to fifty widows in Ibadan to add up to their existing business.

“The project is more of an enterprise empowerment programme. We set you on your business, not giving you money to do whatever you want to do with it.”

According to him, empowerment in Nigeria is not done the right way as people just go there to collect cash gifts but end up not doing something tangible with the money.

“The distribution of empowerment in Nigeria is not the same way as it ought to be, so that’s why ours is totally different. What are you doing and how can we fund it, how can we grow it for you. So because it’s my birthday we’re looking at giving them the sum of fifty thousand naira each. We could inject more funds but it depends on what the person is doing,” he said.

To keep the collectors in check, they are expected to refund the said amount back to the organisation after six months. However, it is not mandatory, but whoever refunds the money will have access to bigger grants.  

Earlier in his speech the founder of Shafaudeen Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke called on the government to develop and implement awareness campaigns while efforts are targeted at not only reducing the risk factors but also strengthen protective factors most especially in childhood, adolescence and married life.

Olagoke maintained that the government must encourage functional education towards job creation as well as creating an enabling environment for business development to keep people’s body and soul together for meaningful engagement. A participant of the empowerment programme, Olaniyan Olayemi expressed optimism and remains positive that the money will be disbursed soon.

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