By Ummuhani Usman
The Growth And Empowerment In States (GEMS) programme, which is an initiative of the Department For International Development (DFID), British High Commision, held its closing event on Thursday and Friday, the 7th and 8th of December 2017. The one and half day event which held at the Thought Pyramids Art Centre Wuse 2, had lots of educative events which brought to light the great work carried out by the GEMS team.
An over view of the various arms of the GEMS programme was given in form of lectures, their vision, achievements, and the impact on development.
The second day event started by 9am. Lectures were given by Alh Bello Yakasai, on a summary of GEMS1, Business Membership Advocacy and More leather goods.
He talked about the relevance of leather and how its production should be encouraged in the country. Mr Kola Kuku gave a lecture on Meat processing and Feedlots, were he talked on the significance of improving meat quality.
The programme continued with a lecture by both lecturers on Improving Skin Quality, were they talked about skin degradation as it affects the income of the skin collectors in major skin producing states.
They also highlighted steps taken by GEMS to reduce this problem by introducing Soda ash into salt as a better skin preservation salt as opposed to normal table salt. The result was longer lasting skin, translating to higher income for the collectors.
This was affirmed by a video showing testimonies by the happy collectors. This was followed by a 20 minutes tea break after which the second half of the day’s event started.
The second part started with another interesting lecture on Feed Finishing by Alh Bello Yakasai and Mr Kola Koku. They talked about methods employed by GEMS to fatten cows with as much as 1kg daily, using a special supplement feeding pattern. This method yielded fatter animals within a shorter time, which saves time and also income. It also translates to more availability of these animals and empowering the people in the rural areas especially women, as it becomes easier for them to keep small ruminants.
They also talked about the challenges they faced trying to convince the people to adopt this method of feed finishing and how it was handled. A testimony was given by Miss Aisha, on how she got into the business of marketing and selling feed finishing to the people and how it has helped her. Another lecture was given by Mr Gerry McCarthy and his team on the Meaningful Project Exit Initiatives were they talked about the various project exits and how it has had an impact on development.
The programme was wrapped up by the PSD adviser DFID Abuja, Andy Gartside, were he talked on the scope of the programme and what is ahead. He gave a closing Remark, and the programme came to an end with a lunch for participants.