As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Youth Skills Day, with the theme, ‘Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic’, a nongovernmental organization, Edulead Development Initiative, Friday, launched ‘Skills and Idea Clinic in the Green Economy’ to train youths on meeting needs of people in the green economy.
The launch was done by the Executive Director, EduLead Development Initiative, Chinedu Opara, where Opara explained why his organization took the initiative to open the clinic in Abuja, and the impact it will make in the lives of young people and also as an avenue to tackle youth unemployment and engagement in social vices that have increased insecurity across the country, including addressing worrisome environmental challenges.
In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
Since then, World Youth Skills Day events have provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, firms, employers’ and workers’ organizations, policy makers and development partners. Participants have highlighted the ever-increasing significance of skills as the world is embarking on a transition towards a sustainable model of development.
Looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis and recovery is essential. The youth population will grow by more than 78 million between 2021 and 2030. Low income countries will account for nearly half of that increase. Education and training systems need to respond to this challenge.
He said: “We are year marking the World Youth Skills Day as declared by UN that young people’s skills should be celebrated, and more advocacy should be championed to get more people to learn skills which is the only sure way to acquire skills, resilient to unemployment and get meaningfully employed.
“Within our organization we are committed to promoting agriculture, environmental sustainability and education. We felt that young people should be resilient in these sectors that I have mentioned and by way of doing that we are launching skills clinic today, and that is the way for us that we can help young people to come close to us, harvest skills, they are resilient of course within the green economy and see how they can help themselves within this areas.
“So what we are doing today is to see how we can get the first batch of young people we have selected, a call for application was entered and they applied and showed interest and were selected to be here, and by exposing them to certain skills within the green economy, service skills that are environmentally friendly skills, and they will be trained from today till a period of a month and after the training we are hoping they will be linked to some places to access some funds to be able to continue what learnt in and in skills and of course be empowered on livelihood through those skills.
“For each phase of this programme we will train 20 young persons and that is three months and a quarter, and after the training we will only be acting as a platform, which we provide the platform and will work with other stakeholders who are relevant in the sector to join us provide training to these young persons on selected skills, and after that we are hoping to be able to provide linkages for them to access finances to fund whatever skills they have chosen to go into.
“We are happy that a lot of partners are joining us today showing interest on what we are doing, and we are hopeful that in this first of this project that the outcome of it will encourage more young people to be part of what we are doing.”
However, the EdulLead boss said, “For now Edulead is a young organization, we are starting with Abuja for now because within the environment we are we are having a whole lot of environmental issues in this axis of Federal Capital Territory, and vices coming out from young people not having anything to do.
“We are not funded at the moment we are doing this from our capacity that is why we cannot cover other places for now. This is going to last for a year in FCT and we are hoping that by the time we bring out the results and the results are showing forth we will be able to replicate the effects of this clinic to other laces that desire to learn such skills and places we have environmental issues.”
Speaking on the emerging green economy, opportunities, and skills needed to meet demands of the new economy, he said, “By going green means we should reduce carbon emission, reduce activities we are doing that are harmful to the environment, in the agricultural sector that farmers should learn to farm sustainably and farmers resiliently.
“If the world would want to go green any moment from now by reducing emission and how we harm the environment that is very imperative to begin to learn skills that are environmentally friendly and begin to do things differently.
“For instance a lot of skills exist in the green economy starting from production, people are no longer using fuel, generators compared to before, rather people are buying panels, inverters, solar energy in their home, and these are things people are actually producing and we are saying young people should key into these areas to either maintain or produce them as well.
“Then in the agricultural sector people want to farm all year round and that is where irrigation comes in and how can people be smart about irrigation gadgets, and of course these are skills young people can key into and beginning to produce water harvesting gadgets and a whole lot of instruments farmers have to farm without harming the environment including food processing, recycling, and of course training and retraining, and the skills are many when it comes to green economy and so much that young people can tap into it, and that is why we are saying let them come and learn these things.”
He added that, “In fact, what we are trying to set up here is a way for them to come and harvest ideas and by harvesting ideas is not just to be on your own but network, meet other people with like-minds and then you learn from experiences they will share with that you will be able to add to your own ideas and you learn something more.”
There were goodwill messages from Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN; Federal Ministry of Education; Bank of Industry, BoI; FCT Department of Mass Education, FCT-DME; AIDE; ActionAid Nigeria, and others who expressed support for the bold initiative by EduLead.
The Project Manager, Abuja State Office, BoI, Asmau Dankano, said, “We are ready to support this effort of EduLead. We are financing key projects mostly in Abuja. When we talk of finance people think is money you just take and that is, but we give loans and the money has to come back.
“The funds we have we source them from other financial organizations, unless the government gives specific order to say give this sector as a grant then we can finance the project, and most of these projects requires financing because most of them are start-ups and with start-ups we do not advice they take loans, and we tell them to start something first.
“We assist everyone but you need to be eligible, and most of the times the funds we have available, we hardly have grants that is just the truth, and that been said we still finance the recycling sector.”