In a bid to reduce the level of poverty in the state, the Lagos State Government has commenced a 5 day training of Badagry women on the use of water hyacinth to make hand crafts.
The Lagos state government is to train and empower them with grants to carry on with the venture afterwards.
The programme which commenced yesterday saw about 50 women living in Badagry, selected to participate in a 5 day programme being tutored on the inherent prosperity in water Hyacinth made crafts.
Addressing the participants, the Managing Director of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Damilola Emmanuel said that water hyacinth had been a menace to Lagos waterways, making navigation difficult.
Despite its negative effect on the waterways, he said it could still be used for economic purpose.
“This initiative is a water Hyacinth initiative. Hyacinth has been described as a hazard to inland waterways and seen as pest to free flow of water transportation and other uses of the waterways.
“However, we have not realised that this particular waste can be turned into wealth. This programme is meant to transform waste to wealth. We picked participants across Badagry and 50 women were picked.
“We have taken it to Epe, and now, its Badagry then after here, we will move to other areas in the state. Expectations are that Badagry women will be empowered so they will know how to turn this waste into marketable products which they can make a living out of and also become mentors to other women.
“They have been carefully selected and this will be a source of revenue for them while to others, it will be an extra source”, he said.
Mr. Emmanuel continued, “After the training, there is a take off grant for them which the governor has approved and will be handed over to them as soon as they are done on Friday.”
On her part, the facilitator and trainer on the use of water hyacinth for hand crafts, Ms Achenyo Idachaba, founder of Mitimeth commended the women on their enthusiasm to learn.
In her words, “We transform water hyacinth to functional use, specifically, hand craft items. Water hyacinth has been an environmental menace. It is a danger to aquatic species, it has invaded our waterways. It makes movement of boat cumbersome. It curtails access to the waterways. When fishermen go out with their boats, it gets damaged by water hyacinth.
“We are here to empower the community that is adversely affected by the water hyacinth. We are equipping them with the basic skills. We are taking this adversity to prosperity.”
So many people living within the island, particularly, riverine areas had seen water hyacinth as a very dangerous material. It deprives the water of oxygen and also has an effect on species.
Going with such mind set, they found it difficult to believe that water hyacinth can be turned to useful products.
Speaking with some of the participants, they expressed excitement over the programme.
According to Whensu Regina, one of the participants, “I really want to say thank you to LASWA for the training. I don’t know that we can use water hyacinth for bags, key holders and every other things. I am really glad to be part of this training. I am going to establish myself on it and train other women too. I know it is a great opportunity to make profit and it will go a long way.”
Also, Fadakemi Abisoye, a mother of four, extolled the state government for the initiative.
Mrs. Fadakemi was surprised at the numerous products water hyacinth could produce.
In her words, “I never knew we can use the water hyacinth to make things like this. I was so surprised we can use water hyacinth to do rope and many things.
“My plan is to continue with this opportunity and establish myself. I will advice the government to take it to other areas of the state and empower women there. They should also revisit us here too so we can have more knowledge”, she concluded.
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