BEMORE: BEYOND POLITICS STATING THE FACTS

The attention of the management of BEMORE Empowered Initiative has been drawn to a publication made by a certain Kennedy Peretei. If Mr Peretei had, out of a good conscience, written the said article in furtherance of knowledge and truth, he would have reached out to Bemore Empowered Initiative to seek clarification on grey areas, if there is any, knowing that we are a non-governmental organisation and depend on goodwill and donor fund to meet set goals and objectives.

The said article seeks to damage our reputation as an institution and discredit our effort and that of the 1500 young girls who have graduated from the BEMORE programme.

The said publication also has the potential to discredit the BEMORE girls before potential employers and those who seek to engage their services. Some of these girls have laboured through the years to better their lives and give back to their community using the BEMORE platform. These young girls have committed no crime and do not deserve to be drawn into such careless and unfounded misinformation. Making ridicule of their effort and that of the management team of the BEMORE summer boot camp will not go un-replied as our silence will only give credibility to the said publication.

However, this intervention is meant to set the records straight; BEMORE Empowered Initiative is a programme of Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu foundation (BAAF). BAAF is duly registered in Nigeria and recently awarded a UN ECOSOC status for NGO due to its outstanding service to humanity. BEMORE Empowered Initiative is a not-for-profit organisation fully committed to mainstreaming gender in the field of ICT and solar technology.

Over the last four years, BEMORE has trained and empowered over 1500 secondary school girls across seven states, with the majority residing in Ondo state being our host state.

So far as we all know, especially for those conversant with happening in Ondo state, we have trained and empowered over 1500 girls in ICT and solar technology.

This is by far the single largest investment in girl STEM education projects in Ondo state in the last 20 years. I want to encourage you to verify our data; if we’re wrong, show us any other direct investment in promoting STEM education for girls in Ondo that is bigger and better than what we have done. In the last four years, we have committed about three hundred and sixty-eight million naira in promoting digital training for girls.

It is also on record that we pay for every government facility we use for our training programme, e.g., Public Service Training Institute (PSTI) has been a regular training centre for our summer boot camp and has never been offered to BEMORE Empowered Initiative for free. You can verify this information from the office of the DG PSTI and the Permanent Secretary of the institution. But rather, by deploying our fundraising skills, we were able to offer BEMORE summer boot camp scholarship to 100 girls (2017) and 100 girls (2018) from selected public schools in the state across the 18 LGA amounting to 20 million naira. This record is available in the Ministry of Education.

BEMORE has never solicited or received a grant, loan or any form of financial assistance from the Ondo state government under the leadership of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and has never been budgeted for by any government agency.

During the BEMORE summer boot camp 2021, we invested about one hundred and thirty million, four hundred and forty-five thousand naira in providing digital and solar technology training to girls in Ondo state and beyond. All these have been done with zero government funds, whether it be grants or loans. Kindly check with the relevant institutions and agencies to verify our claims.

BEMORE has also distributed 1000 laptops between 2017 till date to secondary school girls who have completed the BEMORE ICT training.

We have also deployed 668 solar home systems across the 18 LGA of Ondo state. This also is the second-largest single deployment of solar home systems in Ondo state aside from the 5000 solar home system programme of the federal government.

So far in 2021 alone, we’ve committed twenty-five million naira without any government funding from any Ministry or Agency in ensuring that the Ondo girls are protected from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence through training of teachers/counsellors, provision of victim support funds and promotion of awareness. We’ve also distributed over 30,000 yellow cards as part of our awareness campaign and strategy to end gender-based violence.

On OSOPADEC, in 2017, OSOPADEC reached out for a training partnership with BEMORE, offering to sponsor participants from its mandate area and has since been sponsoring participants for the summer boot camp.

Permit us to state at this juncture that Her Excellency Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, the founder of BEMORE Empowered and Chairman of our board being the Wife of the Governor, has a cordial and friendly relationship with appointees of the Governor Akeredolu regime, and this relationship does not in any way interfere in the activities of BEMORE Empowered Initiative.
We have remained apolitical and will continue to do so.

This partnership has seen to the training of 410 secondary school girls from Ilaje and Ese Odo LGA in solar and ICT. This partnership has also produced Nigeria’s largest pool of female solar technicians. It has been acknowledged by national and international bodies keen on promoting renewable energy, climate change and mainstreaming gender in STEM. This partnership has also seen to the deployment of 450 solar home systems to rural riverine communities in Ilaje and Ese Odo, where electricity has been off for a reasonable long time.

On the issue of stalling board appointment or control of the board, BEMORE as an organisation is apolitical and is committed to staying out of local politics. We have never formally or informally directed the board of OSOPADEC on what to do. Anyone with a clear proof should please come forward and not rumour milling.

Looking ahead, we hope to provide digital and solar training to 2500 girls before April 2023. In partnership with the Arabinirn light empowerment, which is now lighting up Ondo one home at a time, we hope to light more than 1000 homes before the end of 2022. This will go a long way in ensuring that more Ondo girls can have access to energy for their basic academic and economic needs. We will be committing more funds to strengthening the BEMORE programme so more girls can be reached. The data quoted here are available for anyone interested.

Bassey Obeten
Coordinator Technical
For BEMORE Empowered Initiative

Published by WonderLady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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