“Widows are an integral part of the society, irrespective of the loss of their husbands” says Funmilayo Raji, Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
The message was delivered by the Lagos State Government to the five hundred widows who attended an event organized by Advocacy for Widows Empowerment Foundation, AdWEF in commemoration of the International widows’ day 2017. They were further urged not to lose hope due to the transition of their spouses but endeavour to summon courage and forge ahead in life in order to cater for their children and other members of their families.
A member organization of Nigeria Network of NGOs, AdWEF is a non-profit organization founded by Mr. Willie Workman Oga in 2012. It was aimed at providing succor and empowerment opportunities for widows across Nigeria. The organization which purportedly began operations at a small office in ACME road, Ikeja Lagos with five members now boasts of an impressive membership base of three thousand widows spanning across eight states in the country.
“As a son of a widow, my love for charity started with caring for the less privileged by visiting and organizing parties for charity homes like Modupe Cole Memorial home and some others” noted Mr. Willie Workman Oga, who is also a veteran Nollywood artiste, music director and producer. “Since inception five years ago, we have embarked on farming projects in Benue, Plateau and Kaduna states respectively as well as helping to establish a widows farmers’ cooperative society”, he further stated.
AdWEF was established in response to the plight of widows and the bid to take action towards helping to meet their needs and discover latent potentials in order to nurture their children without having to resort to the indignities engendered by poverty and lack of support. AdWEF acts as an advocate for widows by providing legal support regarding their basic rights and how to insist on them.
Parts of the work of AdWEF are that it sources for funds through sponsorships, fundraising, and donations for the training of 200 widows annually, collaborates with financial institutions on how to provide adequate funding and loans for widows to begin their own businesses, monitors the progress of the widows under various programmes organized by AdWEF as well as introduce widows to mentors from different walks of life.
One peculiar programme which sets AdWEF apart as an organization is its believe in the importance of proactivity; AdWEF cooperates with other NGOs to educate men on the need to write their wills early in life and to make their wives their next of kin in all insurance, employment and banking documents. This allows easy access to funds and entitlements in instances of their deaths.
Recently, AdWEF founder Willie Workman oga received a recognition award for his outstanding work for selfless service presented by The Women of Essence. The award was an avenue to celebrate, appreciate, inspire and encourage people and organisations that have selflessly impacted on communities.
Other projects involved in by AdWEF include training widows on skills acquisition in areas of soap-making and production of school lunch bags. Inclusive is an ongoing educational campaign project tagged “Sponsor a Widows’ Child Education for A Guaranteed Future”. This project was aimed at sponsoring the education of children of members of AdWEF and has recorded tremendous success since it began courtesy of partners of AdWEF such as TaZor Lee Foundation in Dublin and other spirited individuals.