COWLSO: Bridging the Gap To Uplift Nigerian Women

The 18th edition of the Annual Women’s Conference organized by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) might have come and gone but there is no denying the fact that this edition has left its footprints on the sands of time. Yes, the impact of this year’s conference will linger for a long time, especially as it bothers on the core essence of every woman’s wellbeing and ultimate fulfillment in life, touching on those things that are germane to achieving success in marriage, career, business, health and child training.

The conference, which held recently at the Eko Hotel & Suites focused on women “Strengthening Our Collective Impact” and sought to inspire women to rise above the their limitations, conquer their fear and build  support system  to achieve the seemingly impossible but necessary success in life. This year’s conference was to give a clarion call for unity of purpose and coordinated action among women, to achieve their goals.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the chairman of COWLSO and wife of the Executive Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode urged women to learn to support each other and discard unproductive habits.

“When women come together an collaborate, either in government establishments, privately owned businesses, NGOs or wherever, we tend to achieve significant and lasting social change that are beneficial to all”, adding that “women have the unique ability to look at problems and come up with solutions that would transform lives and make the world a better place for all.”

In his capacity as the Special Guest of Honour, the Executive Governor of Edo State, Dr. Godwin Obaseki commended  the initiative; stressing that COWLSO is a fantastic idea that builds on family connection and connects family with government.  His words,

“This serves as an opportunity for government to reach its people and interact with them. It is a very powerful network which helps to get appropriate feedback from the people”, adding that COWLSO conference provides a strong platform that allows women to gather resources and intervene, thus helping the most vulnerable people in the society.”

As a testimony to this fact, it would be recalled that since Mrs. Ambode took over as chairman of COWLSO three years ago, the body has executed many health-related projects, which has recorded impressive impact on the health of babies, children, youths, women and even the aged.

These include the upgrade of the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department of the Lagos Island General Hospital, Odan, the sponsoring goiter operation for some women two years ago and donation of Portable Otoread OAEs equipment to four general hospitals-Badagry, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikorodu and Gbagada General Hospital last year.

Last year, the committee also donated an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to the Lagos Island Maternity, while this year, COWLSO donated portable Otoread OAEs equipment to Shomolu and Alimosho General Hospitals, as well as two Transport Incubator Ambulance, to Gbagada General Hospital and Lagos Island Maternity Hospital.

According to Mrs. Ambode, “These facilities aptly described as ‘womb on wheels’, are to be deployed to convey preterm babies, also known as ‘premature babies’, to government facilities equipped with neo-natal ICU, to save their lives.”

She explained that the ‘Transport Incubator’ is fully equipped with life-support gadgets and other conveniences, making it a womb-like environment for the baby, to enhance its chances of survival while being evacuated to the ICU.”

Alluding to the theme of this year’s conference, the chief host, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode urged Nigerian women to discharge their duties to the best of their ability even as he charged men to always support their wives and join in uplifting women to enviable heights.

In his closing remarks, the Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu described COWLSO conference as a thing of pride for Nigeria. His words, “This is one of the most important events in the world. Through this conference, Lagos State has done Nigeria a great honour. The program continues to uphold the things that matter to womanhood.”

“In a world constantly seeking for meaning, direction and laughter, women at this conference step aside to reflect, educate and think of supporting one another to evolve and do things better”, he added.

Some of the resolutions reached at the end of this year’s conference as presented by Professor Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello through the communiqué stressed the need for women are to acquire the necessary skill to live desired life.

“Women are advised to be brave, Conquer fear for failure, Have the ability to recover from issue of life;Choose their priorities for success., Acquire propelling purpose needed for success, Be passionate about what they are convinced about, Have the right attitude for a successful marriage; the choice of man and family and by defining their goals which should be shared by your partner”.

According to her, “Women must establish process of communication and interaction in marriage, develop perseverance by uniquely developing their will power; even as they begin to plan for their retirement [if they have not done so] by assessing the situation by seeking advice from professionals.”

Other lessons learnt are that women should invest and save on regular basis but never put their eggs in one basket; women speak out and seek help when in abusive relationship or see other being abused. They should know their rights under the law on parenting in this digital age and that the goal of parenting remains same, but methods must change.

“As parents we  must understand that technology has become indispensable in our children’s daily lives. We must prepare our children for the digital future, by ensuring they acquire relevant skills, put relevant internet security measures in place and keep line of communication open.”

Still on parenting, women were encouraged to reinforce core values and be willing to learn, unlearn and re-learn.

On the issue of children having children, women were charged to prevent children from becoming mothers by, putting machinery in place for continuous sensitization and advocacy, to address and eliminate the root-causes and consequences.

Those in government were also urged to put in place structures and policies to address the issues of children having children.

“The government at all levels, policy makers, health sector both state and local level, family, society, NGOs etc must all rise and resolve to eliminate the menace by enacting a policy for a reduction in the minimum age in rendering family planning services from 13 to 15”, said Professor Bello.

On the topic; preventing significant health challenges of midlife and beyond,

“Women were told to take their health seriously especially from age 40 years by ensuring reduction in dietary salt and increasing intake of fruits and vegetables. They were also advised to maintain an ideal body weight and engage in regular physical exercise.”

Going by the robust engagements and networking opportunities garnered from the conference, there is no denying that the memory and impact of this year’s COWLSO conference will remain green and relevant to the everyday life of the Nigerian woman, even as she continues to engage government at all levels for improved policies and services for the welfare and development women and children across the land.



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