The Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA), has graduated 260 participants from the tenth edition of its Skills Acquisition and Vocational Training Programme.
The graduands include 130 youths and 130 women, who are largely unemployed or underemployed, from within the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Bases in Abuja and their surrounding communities.
The beneficiaries received their certificates during the colourful graduation ceremony, which took place Wednesday, 13 February 2019, at the NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja, after 12 weeks of intensive training in various vocational trades.
The trades include Computer Appreciation, Tailoring, Makeup Artistry, Hairdressing and Barbing, Catering, Leather Shoes and Bags Production, Bead Making, Soap and Disinfectant Production, Aluminium Works, Event Decoration, Photography and Videography as well as Soft Furnishings.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Guest of Honour, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, applauded NAFOWA for its initiative, noting that it is in tandem with one of the key drivers of his vision; which is ‘human capacity development through robust and result oriented training for enhanced professional performance’.
He further stated that, 2,310 women and youths have so far benefited from the skills acquisition and vocational training since inception and have established various businesses in NAF Barracks across the country.
The programme, according to him, was a means to financial independence, self-reliance, prosperity and personal development. He noted that when the acquired skills are combined with other forms of academic endeavour, it offers infinite options and opportunities for employment.
Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar observed that the empowerment of dependents by NAFOWA has impacted positively on NAF operations, as it helps to keep the home front stable thereby ensuring full commitment on the part of the personnel in the discharge of their duties.
The CAS commended NAFOWA for the successful completion of the tenth edition of the programme and appreciated the programme facilitators for their efforts, support, tolerance and encouragement.
He also urged the beneficiaries to make good use of their starter packs and appealed to NAFOWA to monitor the beneficiaries’ progress with a view to ensuring that the objective of the programme was achieved.
Earlier in her welcome address, the NAFOWA National President, Hajiya Hafsat Abubakar, noted that in her quest to provide service to humanity, in line with the NAFOWA’s motto, she had explored a number of options that would add meaningful value to the lives of women and youths in NAF Bases across the country.
However, all of these options required considerable financial and human capital; neither of which, she said, was readily available to the Association at the time.
Notwithstanding, she said she was determined not to accept the status quo and therefore took ambitious steps to raise the necessary resources for the commencement of the skills acquisition programme and also went further to provide support to IDPs in the Northeastern part of the country.
She stated further that the journey had taken the Association through 10 locations since the launch of the maiden edition of the programme at NAF Base Makurdi in May 2016.
These include Maiduguri, Kaduna, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Bauchi, Benin, Azare, Kainji and now Abuja, training over 2,300 women and youths in the process, including widows and orphans.
She seized the opportunity to thank all NAF personnel for the over 10 million Naira contributed voluntarily during the Second and Third Quarters of 2018, which, she said, assisted in the provision of starter packs for the graduating students.
She also thanked the CAS for his continued support and encouragement. Hajiya Abubakar stressed that the Association would continue to keep the spirit of ‘service to humanity’ alive by embarking on similar projects that touch lives positively and make a difference to daily existence.
The event featured various cultural dances as well as a presentation by pupils of the NAFOWA Little Angels School NAF Base Abuja.
The Guest of Honour and other dignitaries were also conducted on an inspection tour of an Exhibition of products made by the graduating students.
The major highlight of the event was the presentation of appropriate starter packs, comprising laptop computers, digital cameras, kitchen appliances, aluminum bending equipment, grinding machines, hair dryers, make-up kits and sewing machines, among others, to the graduating students.
Among the dignitaries at the event were Branch Chiefs and other senior officers from Headquarters NAF, heads and representatives of Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association (DEPOWA), Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA), Naval Officers’ Wives Association (NOWA) and other sister organizations as well as the representative of the President of the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) Nigeria.