ASSESSMENT OF FUNCTIONAL LITERACY PROGRAMMES FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN CROSS RIVER STATE, NIGERIA
The study was carried out to assess the functionality of literacy programmes for women empowerment in Cross River State, Nigeria. In carrying out the study, three research questions and three null hypotheses were developed to guide the study. The study adopted survey research design. The Population of the study comprises of 19,256 women that enrolled in functional literacy programmes in Cross River State. The sample of the study was 750 women. The instrument for data collection was a 32-item structured questionnaire titled: Assessment of Functional Literacy Programmes for Women Empowerment in Cross River State Questionnaire (AFLPWECRSQ). The instrument for the study was face validated by three experts. The internal consistency of the instrument was established using Cronbach Alpha reliability method which yielded coefficients of 0.65 for vocational skills, 0.59 for basic health practices and 0.65 for ICT skills for empowering women. The data for the study were collected with the help of 9 research assistants. The 721 copies of the questionnaire administered to the respondents, were completely filled and retrieved representing 100 % rate of return. The data collected were analysed using mean and standard deviation for answering the research questions while t-test statistics was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. Based on the data analysed, the study found that vocational skills, basic health practices and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills are to a low extent provided in the vocational centres for empowering the women in Cross River State. There were significant (p<0.05) differences in the mean ratings of the responses of urban and rural women on 16 out of the 32 items whereas there were no significant (p<0.05) differences on the remaining 16 items. Based on the above findings, the study among others recommended that government should improve the physical, infrastructural and organizational standards of vocational institutions for women empowerment through better funding, increase involvement of international donor agencies in the health intervention programmes for improved health services for women and that women should be encouraged to form cooperative societies so that they can be trained and empowered as a group with relevant vocational, health and ICT skills for productive living.