Dr. (Mrs.) Nkem Okoro is a seasoned educationist who has risen to the Directorate cadre at the Federal Inspectorate Service of the Federal Ministry of Education in Lagos. She is the founder and Chief Coordinator of “The Wife,” an organisation of married women focused on building excellent homes to transform the society
On a typical training day when the Chief Coordinator of “The Wife”, Dr. (Mrs.) Nkem Okoro is engaged in training women and mothers on parenting skills, she exudes confidence, spicing her teaching with humour.
Training excellent wives and mothers that will transform the society is a mission that her organisation of married women is persistently and passionately living up to in practical terms.
After fixing trainings and going round different parts of Lagos to put women through on this task, last year together with her group of coordinators, they settled for a specific location in Jibowu, Yaba where they now meet with women for this purpose on a regular basis.
Okoro says she embarked on this course since 2006, having realised that the society is no longer what it used to be. Economic strain on families have limited the attention that parents need to pay to raising their children, and coupled with the impact of globalisation and unrestricted access to the Internet among young people, values have broken down, leading to prevalence of criminal activities and other forms of misbehaviour. The way out, she subscribes, is to go back to the basics, taking wives and mothers through effective parenting skills.
According to her, wives and mothers are the targets for this training because they are “the nerve centre in every family and if they effectively execute their jobs in their families very well (like we all know that the family is the building block of every society), then the society will be transformed because if family A is good, and family B is good, the collection or a group of them that will form the society will also reflect that goodness from family.”
The training holds every second Tuesday of the month. Okoro recounts how it all started. “When we first started, we had basically about four meetings every year. We had at Golden Gate, Excellence Hotel, Ogba, and then our anniversary in July, and Christmas party in December. But people started making demands and request that we should come to different areas. So, we started going as far as Epe, Agbara, Ijanikin, Iyana–Ipaja–Ayobo, Agege and Ibeju–Lekki. We started going to virtually every area regularly in the past three to four years.”
“Apart from those ones, we started having a regular base here in Jibowu, Yaba since last year, every second Tuesday of the month, because that’s the day we normally do our counseling. We said, why not find a day that people will know that if they come here, they will meet somebody. We are here till about 3.30 to 4:00pm before we leave for people that want to come in for private counseling and we don’t charge money. So, people are warming up towards that, and it’s regular.”
The response to the programme, she says, is very positive. “As at now, I’ve been invited to come and train people in different schools, ministries and churches at weekends and on Sundays because they have seen that we are doing a great work, and want us to come to their group and extend it to their members.”
“Even during PTA meetings, they invite us to come and train parents on parenting. Churches even invite me to come and train on marital sex on Sundays. The only thing is that we separate the congregation during the time of training – adults, singles in different groups, then the married people will be in a group. We make sure quality trainers handle the other groups so that they will know that they are not are not left out. It’s like if you cannot get to the mountain, they will carry the mountain to your house.”
On the aspects of training they provide, she says: “We train on Mission Rescue Our Children, where we train parents how to take care of their children when they are sick, healthy; their feeding and nutrition, education, and how to counsel them at home. For instance, when it is noticed that a child is quiet, not as active as he used to be, find out what is happening to him – like running temperature, then administer the basic thing, then take him to the doctor for treatment and then follow up until they are healed and restored back to good health.”
“In other areas that challenge the life of children, it is the same way; you should go through the same thorough procedure and follow through until they are completely relieved of that challenge. Like children that are not performing well in school, the ones that have criminal tendencies, prostitution tendency in children, we have to follow through until they are relieved. So, we take mothers through different steps in tackling different challenges of 21st-century child.”
Out of this work has come two books written by her that detail how to handle the issues covered in their themes. “We’ve written two books to that effect. I have a book I authored. Grooming The Next Generation. It is purely training on parenting. The other one is Enriching Marital Sex. That has to do with what happens behind the door between the husband and his wife. When we train, we say it the way it is.” She equally has to her credit a spiritual book titled, See What The Lord Has Done.
The organisation is firmly rooted with its team of coordinators who are in charge of different areas of Lagos that help out with the work, in addition to a Board of Trustees that oversees it. However, finance, Okoro points out, is not readily available outside what the members contribute to run the programmes.
“I am the Chief Coordinator, then we have Board of Trustees that also monitor what we do. The only thing we don’t have is financial backing. So, we contribute money among ourselves; we do a fast once every month praying for families, the nation and all. At that fast whatever meal we did not take, we convert the equivalent of the food into cash and put it in “The Wife’s” purse. That’s, one of the ways we raise money. Then also we receive support from stakeholders – people that come into our programmes through offering and donation.”
“It has not been easy getting financing; so, we sponsor it. Some people spend as much as N10, 000 every month, some N 5,000. We thank God so far. We handle specific areas; that’s why we call it specialised training.”
Okoro informs that for this year, however, the training is tagged, “Mission Rescue Our Homes 2016” because every home has its own unique challenge. As a result, the training is targetting “everybody – wives, husbands, ministers, counselors. We want them to come and join hands with us to train ourselves to have the best of homes.”
Okoro holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Education) in Biological Sciences and Master’s in Educational Administration both from the University of Lagos, and PhD (Hon. D.H.L.) from the European–American University, Commonwealth of Dominica. Prior to getting into the Inspectorate Services of the federal education ministry, she taught in several schools including King’s College, Lagos.
She is happily married for over 31 years to Senior Pastor, Guiding Light Assembly, Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, Pastor Sam Okoro, and they are blessed with three children. In recognition of her selfless service in the community, especially for her works in the organisation, she has garnered awards from various bodies.
Source: The Guardian