Olawale Ibrahim , Lokoja
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), ActionAid Nigeria has launched a skills appreciation and empowerment scheme for 2,500 women and youths in Kogi and Nasarawa States.
The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria ,Ms Ene Obi said at the launch of the scheme in Lokoja, that it was under its System and Structural Strengthening Approach Against Radicalisation to Violence Extremism (SARVE II) Project.
Obi said that the project, which aims at preventing violent extremism, was being funded by the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Funds (GCERF) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The country director was represented by Mr Anicetus Atakpu, Resilience Programme Coordinator for ActionAid Nigeria.
She said that ActionAid Nigeria was working closely with local rights partners in Kogi State, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change In Development (PIBCID) and Global Peace Development (GDP) in Nasarawa State to ensure successful implementation of the project.
“We discovered from our baseline study on the project that unemployment happens to be one of the primary drivers and triggers of recruitments that make our youths vulnerable both in Kogi and Nasarawa States.
“This program is aimed at addressing the basic problems of unemployment and marginalisation by bridging the gaps. We are targeting 750 youths and 500 women from each of the two states.”
She disclosed that presently, 400 youths and 300 women have been engaged in Kogi as the 2019 batch, adding that by 2020, 350 youths and 200 women would be engaged to make it 750 youths and 500 women.
Obi added that the same figure of women and youths would also be engaged in Nasarawa State.
She said that the training would take between three months and one year, at the end of which the beneficiaries would be grouped into cooperatives.
She said that shops would be opened up for them with starter-packs and equipment for the different skills that they had acquired provided for them to start in business.
Ahmed Mohammed, Deputy Speaker, Kogi State House of Assembly, noted that restiveness had reduced to the barest minimum in the state as a result of Gov. Yahaya Bello’s various interventions.
Mohammed said that the ActionAid programme was also in collaboration with the state government and advised the beneficiaries not to misuse the opportunity.
Kehinde Oloruntoba, the Kogi State Commissioner for Agriculture, said in his goodwill message that the major challenge being faced in the country presently was unemployment and commended ActionAid for the project.