A Non-Governmental Organisation, Shea Integrated Global Foundation, has provided 220 LPG gas cylinders and burners to 220 households in Arikya community, Lafia local government area of Nasarawa state as alternative to the use of firewood in order to discourage the cutting of trees.
This is just as the NGO trained no fewer than 500 women of Nasarawa origin in the Shea tree value chain development.
The Manager of the Foundation’s “She(A) Matters” project, Priscilla Nwosu, made the disclosure during the project’s information dissemination session on Saturday in Lafia.
She said the continued cutting down of trees without planting same has continued to be a threat to humans in the face of climate change.
She explained that the foundation decided to train the women because of the benefits derivable from the Shea tree value chain development, and to reduce the effects of unemployment in the state.
Nwosu expressed optimism that the training which held in the Arikya community of Lafia Local Government Area would greatly improve the livelihood of the women in the coming months.
She said, “The foundation which is in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, and being supervised by the United Nations Development Programme, saw to the training of the women on Shea butter processing to global standards, to improve their livelihoods.
“We are also constructing a processing centre for the production of Shea butter in Arikya community even as we have created two major market connections for product sales with willing buyers.”
The project manager added that the quality of the shea butter produced in Arikya had been internationally certified, thereby earning the community recognition as Nigeria’s first organic parkland for collection of Shea in the wild.
Nwosu, therefore, called on the government and other stakeholders to give attention to the development of Shea value chain in the state in order for the residents to tap from its huge benefits.
On his part, the founder of the NGO, Collins Nwosu said that “She(A) Matters” had achieved its conservation goals, empowered women through sustainable livelihoods and established a model for community-driven environmental initiatives.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Ibrahim Angbolo, commended the Foundation for the initiative.
The commissioner who was represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Hauwa Abdul, assured that the state government would continue to partner the organisation through information dissemination to ensure sustainability of the project.
Earlier, the Sarkin Arikya, Alhaji Abbas Babba, represented by the Sardaunan Arikya, Adamu Abubakar, appreciated the foundation for impacting positively on the community through the Shea value-chain production.
He said the initiative had reduced the rate of cutting of trees in the community, and assured that they would continue to build on the knowledge gained to ensure the sustainability of the project.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke at the event, Hauwa Hamidu and Hadiza Ibrahim, both thanked the foundation for equipping them with the knowledge on how to produce Shea butter and conserve their environment.
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