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Kogi 1st Lady Hajia Halima WadaNo doubt, the social structure of primitive societies did a lot of injustice to women. Gender mainstreaming against women was the order of the day. Here, women were regarded by men as inferior, second class and passive followers in the scheme of affairs. Hence, they were denied leadership positions, the right to equal cultural participation, as well as economic equality and social freedom. Consequently, women in society have been subjected to critical conditions of poverty, ill-health, low esteem, sexual exploitation and other forms of social depredation. In fact, their importance was only reduced to child bearing, cooking food and other domestic activities.

But, with the gradual progressive march of civilization, there is a considerable improvement in attitude towards the status of women today. A gradual revolutionary consciousness that; women are naturally and constitutionally equal to men and therefore, whatever a man can do, a woman can also do, even better. Thus, women are now taking their destiny into their hands in order to improve their status in the society through their magnanimous efforts in the fields of politics, economy, education, arts, social roles, religion and culture, etc. This accounts for the significant impacts of very outstanding women like the Queen of England who is also the ceremonial President of Britain. Also was Margareth Thatcher the former Prime Minister and others.

Here in Kogi State of Nigeria, there is also a very outstanding woman on the saddle who is highly poised to advance the welfare and status of women and children as well as other less privileged people through the activities of her Pet Project titled:  KOGI WOMEN EMPOWERMENT NETWORK (KOWEN) which was officially launched in 2012 as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).

KOWEN which is meant to empower women through unity is the pet project of the wife of the Executive Governor and First Lady of Kogi State, Her Excellency Hajiya Halima Ladi Wada. Her vision is to bring about a Kogi State where women from all social backgrounds collaborate to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of each other. And her mission is to stimulate the growth of Kogi State by empowering women to become more actively involved in the society as powerful change makers.


The cardinal objectives of KOWEN include to:

ü    Foster unity among Kogi Women.

ü    Improve the overall health status of Kogi Women through advocacy, health education and health promotion.

ü    Encourage women empowerment through capacity building and the establishment of sustainable income generation activities.

ü    Increase avenues of literacy promotion for Kogi women and children.

ü    Improve the living standard of the less priviledged e.g widows, orphans and the physically challenged people through charitable activities.

ü    Encourage more active participation of women in governance.

Administrative Structure:

The administrative organ of KOWEN include:

ü    Board of Trustees with the First Lady as the Chairperson. Also are the wife of the Deputy Governor, 2 persons from each of the 3 Senatorial districts and the Executive Secretary.

ü    Executive Secretary’s office.

ü    KOWEN Coordinators consisting of 1 person per ward and 1 PDP Women Leader at Ward levels.

Targeted Activities:

The targeted actions of KOWEN are threefold viz: Health, Economy and Charity donations.




ü    To facilitate healthy community living by implementing health awareness and behavioural change activities in order to meet family nutritional needs and provision of anti-natal facilities so as to reduce child and maternal deaths.

ü    To complement Government efforts in the health sector as well as partnership with the civic societies, religious bodies, individuals and Non-Governmental Organizations in improving the quality of health.

Economic Empowerment Projects:

ü    To establish partnerships with financial institutions and NGOs so as to provide finance for the creation of sustainable businesses in food processing, agro-allied trade and fashion sectors.

ü    To establish vocational and skill acquisition centers that will train and link women and youths with income generating activities.

ü    Strengthening and encouraging women cooperatives, associations and networks that will facilities their economic development.

ü    Facilitate active participation of women in economic and political activities to promote self reliance through gainful employment to strengthen the economy.

Charitable Activities:

ü    Regular visits to orphanages

ü    Donation to widows

ü    Regular visits to hospitals

ü    Special assistances to the physically challenged.


Surely, the role of women and children is indispensable to nation building. Women population which is the majority world-wide play both the reproductive, productive and community mobilization roles.

However, it is very unfortunate that majority of women are still wallowing in abject poverty and disease due to ignorance and lack of economic and political empowerment. This is why Hajia Halima Wada has embarked on her pet project with all doggedness and sincerity to purpose. So far, KOWEN has established a modern fashion and designing center at Lokoja and an oil-palm processing plant at Ankpa. Also, machines have started arriving for the establishment of fish drying equipments at Idah. Again, several donations have been made to orphans, widows and other less priviledged. Additionally, polio vaccine immunization is greatly boosted.

If the Kogi society must develop further, all we need do is to embrace and support KOWEN in order to boost the socio-economic and health status of women and children.

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