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NGO empowers 4500 youths to reduce unemployment

NGO empowers 4500 youths to reduce unemployment
April 20
22:50 2021

In a bid to reduce youth unemployment in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) has empowered over 4, 500 youths through its Niger Delta Youth Employment Pathways (NDYEP).

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Dara Akala, PIND executive director, said this at a NDYEP close-out workshop, which was implemented in two phases between September 2017 and March 2021 and piloted in Abia, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers states.

He said the high unemployment in the Niger Delta informed PIND’s decision to design the programme to address the menace in a very practical way by equipping the youths with market-relevant skills.

According to him “Addressing unemployment remains one of the most significant development challenges at this time for governments and actors at the national and sub-national levels, including the Niger Delta. And that is why celebrating the wins of the NDYEP project today is important while replicating such innovative approaches to skills development that will contribute to economic recovery and growth post-COVID-19 is of even more importance.”

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The NDYEP trained youths in the agriculture, construction, finished leather, ICT, and renewable energy sectors that showed great potential for youth employment.

Before the project started in 2018, PIND discovered that there was a mismatch between the skills offered by so many training programmes and what was actually demanded for by organisations, especially in the private sector.

Emeka Ile, manager of NDYEP, said this informed the project’s decision to focus on priority growth sectors.

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 He said “Over 4800 youths who enrolled for both the first and second phases of the project, 4355 participants completed their training. In phase two alone, “2887 participants completed technical and soft skill training, of which 1288 have already been linked to wage work opportunities.”

The project initiated a business plan competition to support participants start their own small businesses. 47 individual and group start-ups emerged successful and were awarded grants to kickstart their businesses. The winners will also receive guidance on how to start and grow their businesses to help provide employment for others.

A beneficiary of the project Mary Ogbonna described the project as “amazing”. She was trained in Android development and has already started replicating her knowledge.

“I’m doing great things. I train and mentor girls between the ages of 10 and 18 in Android development to get them involved in the tech ecosystem because girls tend to shy away from technology. They think it’s really difficult and what they can’t do. But I’m a testimony that girls can do it.”

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Another participant, Uduak Etuk, who described herself as a professional woodworker, said the project helped her gain competence in construction machine usage. Going forward, she said with the skills she has gained, she would be able to “do some space saving furniture which have not been done in Nigeria”.

In his closing remarks, Tunji Idowu, the deputy executive director of PIND, called on stakeholders especially government to adopt the NDYEP model for youth job creation, noting that the government is at the centerpiece of addressing youth unemployment.

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