By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Wife of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Martha Emmanuel has said that the adolescent pregnancy rate in the state is estimated at 17%, which means that nearly one in every five adolescent girls (aged 15-19) is either pregnant or has had a child.
Speaking during the sixth Anniversary Celebration of Family Empowerment and Youth Reorientation Path Initiative (FYReP), her pet project in Uyo on Tuesday, Mrs Emmanuel decried the situation as worrisome.
She said FYREP has in recent times focused major on prevention of teenage pregnancy, and pledged
to commit more energy and resources to the fight against this early child pregnancy in the state.
“FEYReP has reached out to about 15,000 students spread across 62 secondary school in the three senatorial districts of the state with its advocacy programme tagged ”Girls, Uphold Your Dignity” with an objective to raising the bar on the standard of behaviour and educational focus of the girl child.
“It seeks to reposition the girl child educationally, promote behavioural change and educate on reproductive health. Meanwhile, the program is yielding positive results.”
To stike gender balance on care for Akwa Ibom children, she reported; “The advocacy also gave birth to a programme tagged “Bright Future for Responsible Boys”. Noticing that the boy child appears neglected and dangling in the cliff of social ruins, consumed by drug abuse/addiction, cultism, rape, promiscuity and other vices, FEYReP stems the tide by educating the boys on sexual orientation and need for financial independence. The innovative approach has rescued our young boys from the clutches of abandonment and neglect”.
“FEYReP created and championed a mentoring program tagged “Follow the Star” which offers steady support, hope, wise counselling and guidance to our young ones to develop their academic and professional skills as well as uncover their talent potentials to help them succeed in their future endeavours. So far the idea has yielded positive results as about 6000 students have been reached and mentored”. she said
Reeling out other interventions by FYReP during the anniversary celebration on the theme: “A Legacy of Selfless Service”, Dr Emmanuel said her pet project has worked to reduce maternal mortality in the state as over 5000 expectant mothers across the 31 Local Government Areas received free Medicare, cash, as well as delivery kits through her Pregnacare Outreach’ programme..
Her score card also indicates that FEYReP has within its six years of existence built, furnished and delivered 57 two and three units bedroom bungalows to the poor and indigent of Akwa Ibom, under its ‘Shelter of Hope’ Project and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
“With the theme “Right to Rise”, the physically challenged are not left out in FEYReP’s programs as there is ability in every disability. Over 2000 of them have been empowered with financial grants for businesses as well as packages such as Braille paper,.wheel chairs and the gesture is ongoing.
“Recognizing that development will only be achieved if only it is inclusive of all ages and the elderly, better known as senior citizens, are not forgotten by FEYReP, hence they are often celebrated and empowered by my Non-Government Organization. They also receive free medical check-up since we see old age is a blessing.
“Boosting the income of women becomes a necessity for gender equality. FEYReP has created a platform called ‘FEYReP Multipurpose Interest Free Loan’ and we have been able to reach out to over 10,000 rural women across the three senatorial districts.
“Well over 8,000 widows have so far been empowered with cash grants by my NGO (FEYReP) to be economically self-reliant and productive.
“In my entrepreneurial development, the ‘Get-a-Skill’ programe, a good number of female youths have benefited in capacity building, trained as fashion designers, barbers, hair dressers, shoe menders, mechanics and aluminium workers and empowered with tools. This program is ongoing in the state and has yielded tremendous result.
“To complement the government’s effort in healthcare delivery, we therefore make donations of equipment and consumables to the following health centres: Aka Ekpenme, St. Theresa Hospital, Use Abat and Handmaid Hospital, Ikot Ambang all in Ibiono Ibom local government area, Methodist Hospital, Ituk Mbang in Uruan, General Hospital, Iquita in Oron, Central School of Nursing, Ikot Ekpene, Primary Health Centre, Ikot Etok-Udo in Abak and Leprosy Hospital, Ekpene Obo in Etinan Local Government Areas. This goal is to support and strengthen public healthcare system in our communities,” she mentioned.
Mrs Emmanuel who regretted the spike in Gender Based Violence during the Lockdown occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic said FYReP intervened by staging a state wide awareness campaign in condemnation of the act, provision of the necessary logistics resources to prosecute its perpetrators and provide succour to the victims in their GBV centre.