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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and European Union (EU) have kicked-off the first batch of EU fully-funded vocational training for 600 conflict-affected persons from Borno state who were enrolled in the Integrated Community Recovery and Resilience (ICRRB) programme in the state.
Under the programme implemented by the UNDP, beneficiaries are being trained in 24 different skills such as aluminum fabrication, catering & decoration, hair dressing, tailoring, welding & fabrication, auto mechanic, auto mobile technology, mechatronics, cattle fattening, crop production, fish production and shoe making/leather works.
The crisis in North-eastern Nigeria now in its 10th year has spilled into the Lake Chad region with 7.1 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Investigation by Blueprint shows that prolong development deficit in the region exposed millions to different kinds of vulnerabilities even before the crisis started. With 1.8 million people still internally displaced in the three most affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, finding sources of livelihood remains a huge challenge for hundreds of households as they continue to rely on humanitarian assistance for survival.
The vocational trainings are targeted at those affected by the conflict for them to be self-reliant while rebuilding their lives. The trainees consist of 262 females and 338 males from across 27 local government areas of the state that will undergo training between three to12 months.
Facilitators speak on the programme
At the matriculation ceremonies for 550 trainees, the EU representative, Kabir Abbas said, “I am pleased to see that the selection of beneficiaries for vocational training has been done and very soon training will start, thereby giving them the possibility of choosing from 24 different skills. The EU funded ‘Borno package’ is designed to support people affected by the conflict, especially those that had to leave their homes and are today displaced in order to recover their livelihood and become self-reliant. Strengthening people’s skills and their livelihood is at the heart of the EU’s early recovery programmes in the North-east and this is essential for an inclusive growth not only in the North-east but in all Nigeria.”
The Head of UNDP North-east sub-office, Ms. Mizuho Yokoi noted that, “We are linking acquisition of new skills through vocational training with employment creation. Therefore, trainees who meet laid down criteria at the completion of their training will receive start-up cash grants for business purposes.”
Both the UNDP and EU have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Borno state government to train 600 youths and women in various vocational skills as part of the UNDP/EU Livelihood Support Programme designed to develop and improve livelihood of youths and women that have been affected by the Boko Haram Insurgency with a view to cushion their hardships and make them self reliant and employers of labour.
The youths who matriculated in two consecutive days at the Ramat Polytechnic Maiduguri and Mohammed Lawan College of Agriculture Conference Hall were said to have been selected from all the 27 LGAs.
The training is expected to last for a period of three to four months under intensive monitoring with a series of tests as the training was sub divided into categories where 300 youths and women will be trained at Ramat Polytechnic, 200 beneficiaries at the College of Agriculture and 100 youths and women at the Nigerian Institute of Leather Studies Kaduna and Abuja, respectively.
According to Yokoi, the training programme will cover areas like aluminium fabrication, baking, carpentry, catering & decoration, furniture, GSM repairs, knitting, hair dressing and tailoring .
Others include mechanic & fabrication, auto mobile, auto painting and spraying, auto welding, auto mechanic, auto mobile technology, cattle fattening, crop production, fish production, livestock production, nursery and landscaping, soap making, TYE and OYE, shoe making and leather works, among others.
She added that last year, the UNDP already provided Agricultural Extension Services Training to over 9,000 farmers in the three North east states affected by Boko Haram insurgency.
She said also that UNDP has trained over 1,500 youths and women in Borno apart from the rehabilitation of three vocational centres in the state. Yokoi urged the participants to be serious and dedicated to their respective vocational skills as whoever successfully graduates, according to her, would be given a starter pack and token to start up their own business and become self reliant.
She warned them to be disciplined and exhibit good habits as well conduct themselves properly during the training period by especially observing the rules of the game and respect for the facilitators and instructors.
Yokoi said the youths must be ever ready to commit themselves as matriculated beneficiaries while appreciating the state government, school authorities as well as other partners such as state ministries of agriculture, RRR, poverty alleviation & youths empowerment, animal resources and fisheries involved in the training programme.
The executive chairman, SEMA, in the state Hajjya Yabawa Kolo said in her remarks that the state government has planned for massive youths and women empowerment as part of the post insurgency frameworks and livelihood support activities to improve the living condition of the citizenry affected by the insurgen.
She added that the state government has been in cordial relationship with UNDP and other NGOs in many partnerships and MOUs on humanitarian and livelihood support programmes.
Kolo pledged to continue to partner with the UN to empower the youths, particularly, the womenfolk who are mostly widows today or orphans while thanking the organisation for their support and assistance to those classes of people.
The European Union Representatives, Abbas and Ringpom Gwamzhi assured about the readiness of the EU to support the training programme to a success by making the participants self employed and future entrepreneurs.
They also advised them to be serious, committed, dedicated and determined to the training as it will be useful to them in the future while appealing to them to make proper use of the opportunities they got from UNDP and EU to be matriculated for the training.
Abbas urged the implementers to incorporate behavioural trading in the modules for the beneficiaries, noting that EU has supported a lot of livelihoods programmes on health, education, livelihood support, gender sensitive violence, agriculture, among others
The representatives of the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Youths Empowerment, higher education, Ramat Polytechnic, College of Agriculture and Fisheries commended the initiative and support programme respectively while calling on the participants to be serious and committed to the training programme for their own good and interest.
Blueprint gathered that through the Integrated Community Recovery and Resilience in Borno State Programme, the EU is investing 15m Euro with the aim of meeting urgent early recovery needs of populations affected by the conflict. The programme, which is integrated in approach, has been developed based on UNDP’s global experience with community stabilisation in post-conflict settings. It addresses basic services, livelihoods, reconciliation and security as well as local governance to rebuild the resilience of conflict-affected people and communities that were devastated by the onslaught of Boko Haram in Borno State -thereby providing catalytic ingredients for communities to thrive again.
Under the training component of the project, agricultural extension services were provided to 4,682 farmers across 20 communities