From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja
ActionAid Nigeria has launched skills acquisition and empowerment scheme for 2,500 women and youths in Kogi and Nasarawa States under its System and Structural Strengthening Approach Against Radicalization to Violence Extremism project (SARVE II).
Ms Ene Obi, Country Director of ActionAid while speaking at the launch on last week in Lokoja, said the programme was being funded by Global Community Engagement and Resilience Funds (GCERF), Geneva, Switzerland.
Represented by Mr Anicetus Atakpu, Resilience Program Coordinator for ActionAid Nigeria, the Country Director said that the project was aimed at preventing violent extremism.
Obi said that the organisation was working closely with the local rights partners in Kogi State, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change In Development (PIBCID) and Global Peace Development (GDP) in Nasarawa state to ensure the 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 recruitment 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 said that 400 youths and 300 women are presently being engaged in Kogi as 2019 batch adding that by Next year (2020), 350 youths and 200 women would be engaged to make it 750 youths and 500 women same as in Nasarawa State.
Obi noted that the training would take between three months and one year and at the end “we will group them into cooperatives and shops will be opened up for them with the starter-packs and equipment of the different skills that they have acquired for them to start.”
Ahmed Mohamed, Deputy Speaker, Kogi State House of Assembly, said restiveness had reduced to the barest minimum in the state as a result of the various interventions Governor Yahaya Bello.
He said that the ActionAid program was also in collaboration with the state government and advised the beneficiaries not to misuse the opportunity.
Kehinde Oloruntoba, the state Commissioner for Agriculture in his Goodwill message said the major challenge being faced in the country presently was unemployment and commended ActionAid for the project.
Halima Sadiq, acting Executive Director of PIBCID urged government and the private sectors as well as organisations to emulate ActionAid in empowering the vulnerable groups in the society.
The skills, according to her, include, fashion designing, tailoring, catering, plumbing, welding, ICT and computer and for the women, cassava processing, maize and rice milling and processing, bakery hairdressing as well as barbing salon among others.