African Human Development Centre Trains 50 Youths on Entrepreneurship
No fewer than 50 youths drawn from five communities of Etinan and Mkpat Enin Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State have benefited from a 3 day youth entrepreneurship training with a charge on them to put to use the skills acquired to become self-reliant.
The training which was organized by African Human Development Centre (AHDC) in partnership with Actionaid Nigeria under Youth Digital Engagement (YDE) Project, took place at Herald Agribusiness College, Uyo.
The beneficiaries were trained on four areas of Agric value chain, with interest on poultry, fisheries and piggeries production; Ankara bag production with specialty in laptop bags, school bags, Ankara hand bags/shoes and fascinator production; Skincare and detergent production and Continental baking and pastries.
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Addressing beneficiaries at the end of the training, the Country Director of Actionaid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi expressed satisfaction over the performances of the trainees in different areas of training and commended AHDC for a job well done.
Obi, who applauded the willingness of the beneficiaries to learn the skills, said “I’m excited about what they are able to turn out in the few days and what they have been able to learn” and expressed the hope that government will take a cue from the NGO and empower more youths. She said the training was put together to give the youths hope, help them acquire skills and build their capacity while encouraging them not to give up but continue doing their best and be confident of themselves to become great in life.
Actionaid Nigeria, according to her “is about social justice and we are working in about 22 states across the country on different issues depending on the issues found on ground, what we found here is what we are working on”. Obi explained that “the project is as a result the findings of research conducted in – FCT, Gombe and Akwa Ibom states and COVID-19 response to cushion the effect on many Nigerians”.
“What was cutting across from the recent research we conducted was the Unemployment level. “We are focusing on the youth to bring out the issue from them for the government to also look at the youth unemployment as an emergency because we are sitting on a time bomb”, she said.
Obi, posited that the research was to bring the attention of the government and all stakeholders to look at what is confronting the youth in Nigeria and particularly in Akwa Ibom.
Commenting on the training, she stressed, “this is just a quick shot from the results of the research, we are looking at the challenges that we have found and we are moving ahead in putting some things in place.
The Country director, while congratulating the beneficiaries for making the list of the trainees, advised them to make good use of the skills acquired and admonished them not to give up on Nigeria but believe in themselves and the country, saying that “Nigeria is one of the greatest countries in the world”.
The Chief Executive Officer and founder of African Human Development Centre, Professor Gabriel Umoh, said the programme was supported by Actionaid Nigeria under the project called Youth Digital Engagement, while African Human Development Centre organized the training. Umoh who confirmed that the training was a fall out of the research carried out by the NGO in the state observed that the gesture was part of effort to solve the problem of unemployment in the country.
He noted that “one of the key things that came out was that the youths need employment opportunities and since we cannot create employment opportunities as such, we want to give them right skills that they can use to employ themselves and of course employ others”.
The beneficiaries, he said were selected by their community members through Democratic process for the training, adding that the number was just for a start while disclosing that plans were on ground to train more youths across the state. The founder of the NGO said they have been around since 2004 working in 14 different communities in the state and providing social services to the people.
“Our vision is to see a society that is free of poverty, exclusion and marginalisation. Our focal area is health, education, women right and good and democratic governance”, he said He said “the best way to empower youth in my own opinion is not to give them money but to teach them what to do”, adding, “if these chaps are empowered and given the necessary support, they can become self-reliant and employers of labour” Umoh recommended that government should partner organisation like African Development Centre and training institutions like Herald Agribusiness College which is out to make a difference from what obtains in other institutions like the universities where the emphasis is more on theory.
According to him, “here in Herald Agribusiness College, it is 70 per cent practice and 30 per cent theory. So if government will send the youths to this college, we will transform them into business people who are not just have the knowledge but people who are going out to practice”. “Any student admitted here, before graduation will graduate with his own business plan and we will link such a student up with the sources of funds and support”, he said.
While stressing that government cannot do everything alone, the CEO pointed out that a better way to go about it was to partner an institution like Herald Agribusiness College. He made a case for total overhaul of the current curriculum that is being used in the universities, saying it only prepares graduates for employment, who think once they come out, they should be employed. The founder of the NGO emphasized that “in a global economy we need to prepare students who will be able to use both their hands and their brains”.
Herald Business College he said, exists to offer something business-like in response to the global economy which needs people with skills who will become employers and not people who are coming out to seek employment.
“This institution makes you both skilled and knowledgeable and what we really do here is to turn your thinking to know that everything is business, and can turn everything around you into money making venture, because there is business in everything”, he said.
Explaining the expectation of Youth Digital Engagement, Dorcas Bennie maintained that YDE was about getting the youths involved in engaging policy makers for the betterment of the society.
Responding on behalf of the trainees, Ememobong Samuel Inyang thanked Actionaid and African Human Development Centre for the opportunity given them to acquire skills and become self reliant.
Inyang commended their efforts which is geared towards equipping the youths especially those from the rural communities with skill acquisition, saying it was a right step in a right direction that will reposition the youths and make them self-independent.
He said, “as a beneficiary of this programme, I have learnt how to make Ankara bag, shoes, laptop bags and school bags. In fact is a life changing programme to me personally”.
While applauding Actionaid and AHDC for the gesture, he prayed God to provide more funds and equip them with wisdom to come up with more programmes that will benefit the youths, while pledging their resolve to utilize the knowledge gained to become useful to themselves and the society. High point of the training was the presentation of certificate of participation to the beneficiaries, exhibition of items produced by the trainees and paper presentation on Youth and Entrepreneurship by Mr Ubong Ekpe.