At least, 800 women from different communities in Cross River State have been trained in the last three years on specific skills and how to highlight the social challenges in their communities.
The training, conducted by Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre in collaboration with Oxfam Nigeria, was to identify the issues and their impact on their communities, especially the women.
Mrs Emem Okon, executive director and founder of Kebetkache disclosed this during an advocacy meeting with government officials, women groups and other stakeholders on challenges affecting rural development.
She said the essence was to equip them with the knowledge that will help them to promote community needs for inclusion in state budgets and planning, so that the information they would pass would help government to keep track on such challenges.
"We started the training in 2016 and have trained a little over 800 women on community needs assessments so that they can know how to participate in development process by the state government and sustain such engagement with a view to influencing inclusion in their budgetary planning. We expect them to use the skills imparted to highlight their social plights", she said.
She also added that they are not out to confront government but to engage and ensure that the voices of the communities were heard.
Some of the women groups such as the Abi LGA, Ikom womem group, Bekwara Women Associated, as well as Peace-Point organisation, Itigidi Women Development group reeled out array of challenges facing them.
Speaking on their behalf, Mrs Victoria Ukpong said their field tours revealed that there have been massive neglect and abandoning of projects initiated by government even though funds were released to the contractors.
Also speaking, the permanent secretary in the state planning commission, Emmanuel Ogar said paucity of leadership and docility of followership have been the cause of bad government and encouraged the women to help add value to the system