The First Lady of Ondo State, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has flagged off the distribution of 1,000 solar home systems to the rural women across the 18 local government areas of the state, under the “Arabirin Lights Up Ondo State” initiative.
The initiative is powered by the BeMore Empowered initiative in collaboration with the office of the First Lady, and it was said to have been conceived during the 2021 edition of the BeMore Summer Bootcamp where 400 girls were given the solar system to power their houses.
While flagging off the programme at the Government House, Alagbaka Akure, the state capital, the first lady said women across the 18 local government areas of the state will benefit from the gesture.
She said the first phase of the exercise had a large number of beneficiaries from the riverine area of Ondo State, due to the fact that they were mostly affected by darkness as a result of lack of access to the national grid, adding that the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC), was a major supporter of BeMore Empowered initiative.
Akeredolu, who could not hide her joy explained that the solar system distribution was to enable the rural women have access to light and serve as an alternative to the epileptic power supply.
According to her, “Now we have a technology that is at our fingertips, a technology you can use to harness sunlight that is free all year-round, renewable and inexhaustible.
“As rightly said, our target is a thousand home; already we’ve lit up 400 homes through our BeMore girls, then, this 300 will be for our women in OSOPADEC area and women that are lucky to win raffle draw at the FOWOSO summit”.
She, therefore, acknowledged the commitment and support of OSOPADEC in sponsoring hundreds of girls from the area to participate in the programme, expressed optimism that in five years time, the human capacity that would come from that area.
She mandated that the beneficiaries to engage BeMore girls in their areas for the installation of the solar system with a consultancy fee, which they would be saving for their University education.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Coordinator of BeMore Empowered Foundation, Bassey Obeten, explained that the initiative was geared towards empowering rural women in terms of giving them access to stable light, since they couldn’t afford generator set and to also reduce the hazards of using the generator.
According to him, with this official flag off and the BeMore girls’ portions, the Ondo State First Lady had lighted 700 homes within a year, and that the gesture would reach 1,000.
In his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary of OSOPADEC, Koledoye, lauded Her Excellency’s initiative, noting that not much had been done for girls and women in Ondo State prior to the coming of Akeredolu, hence, the reason the Commission keyed into her programmes.