As a way of creating employment and reduce poverty among its citizens, Lagos state is training women on how to use water hyacinth to make handicrafts.
The state is also to empower the women with grants to enable them start off the craft after the training.
About 50 women in Badagry have so far been selected to participate in the 5-day training programme after the take+off in Epe recently.
The managing Director of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr Damilola Emmanuel, while addressing the participants Monday, said water hyacinth had been a menace to Lagos waterways, making navigation difficult.
He added that despite its negative effect on the waterways, it could be used for economic purposes.
“Hyacinth has been described as an 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 stBadagryr expectations is that Badagry women will be empowered so they will know how to turn this waste into marketable products which they can make living out 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.
Speaking further, Damilola quipped, “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.”
Meanwhile, the facilitator and trainer on the use of water hyacinth for handicrafts, Ms Achenyo Idachaba, founder of Mitimeth explained how the water growth adversity can be turned into prosperity.
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.
According to Whensu Regina, one of the participants, she said “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 it. I know it is a great opportunity to make profit and it will go a long way.”
Further, 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 their. They should also revisit us here too so we can have more knowledge.” She concluded.