In pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), economic empowerment has become a major strategy to help families evade hunger and meet basic needs. To eradicate the worst forms of poverty and enable families/households to respond to emergency needs, basic economic empowerment strengths are required by households.
Being able to put food on the table, pay fees, support medical needs, and provide clothing remains paramount. And giving caregivers opportunities to make earnings becomes even important. It involves sourcing for jobs and linking caregivers to such jobs to allow for regular income.
Also, creating jobs and engaging household heads and, or caregivers to such jobs. Livelihood opportunity balances the need for availability of funds and ever-pressing basic needs of the family.
Over the years, Living Word Mission has collaborated with individuals and other organisations to provide livelihood opportunities to over 1000 beneficiaries.
The Ogunleyes is one of many households that have benefitted from our economic empowerment programs and humanitarian presence in several communities. Here, we detail how our community program brought succour to this family.
What was the situation?
Having no sustainable means of livelihood, the family of Mrs. Ogunleye had to resort to stringent resources to cater for their four children’s education and other needs. This led to rationing in the educational pursuit of the children as resources were limited and the caregiver had no viable means of livelihood.
The difficulty encountered led to some of the children staying out of school till resources were available to fend for their needs. Things were such in bad shape that some of the children thought there wouldn’t be the opportunity to attend school.
While some attended, others waited for their turns as the available income could not meet the educational needs of all the children.
Fortunately, things changed for good!
So, what did we do?
We relied on one of our projects to provide livelihood opportunity to Mrs Ogunleye. The Improving Comprehensive AIDS Response Enhanced for Sustainability (iCARES) is a 5-year (yearly performance-based) project funded by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and Implemented by La Vie Mot Global Mission through the supervision of APIN Public Health Initiatives.
The project aimed at empowering households to attain sustained and healthy living through need-based interventions driven by the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Case Management process. This project opened the opportunity to mitigate HIV/AIDS pandemic via sustainable interventions such as Household Economic Strengthening (HES).
Through this project, the Ogunleyes were enrolled in the program after which she (Mrs Ogunleye) was employed as a community volunteer. She was sensitized on the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programme and given the opportunity to work in this regard.
This was to enable her to provide for her children during and after the expiration of the project. As a result, she learnt new parenting, financial, child protection and health ideas for family upkeep. Similarly, she had regular monthly stipends from her volunteerism which she invested to further generate income.
The outcome was worth noting…
Mrs Ogunleye, through the livelihood opportunity we provided her, is now able to support her family and enrol her children in school up to tertiary level. So, her children no longer wait for turns. Similarly, they now relish the opportunity of meeting their career dreams as they attend classes.
Also, she has transferred the knowledge gained on child protection and parenting into the family. Thus reducing the risk or possibilities of abuse.
Notably, she now acts as an advocate for economic sustainability and parenting skills in her community.
In her words, she said:
With the salary I earned, I am able to send my children to school – and one is in the university. [Also], my husband and I are now aware of [child] abuse, have reduced it and are encouraging others to do same.
If the heads (parents, caregivers, guardians) of vulnerable households/families are empowered, it will have a long-run effect on their children and help most of them become economically resilient.
The major goal of OVC programs is to ensure household sustainability, and Living Word Mission has used this strategy to provide livelihood opportunity to er ov1000 beneficiaries and households across different communities. This has helped to reduce the vulnerability levels of some families who are now economically resilient and able to respond to emergency needs.