The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director, Samuel Bwalya, said over 150 displaced youths, women and men from the crises ridden northeast have received training in various entrepreneurship skills, competences and behaviours.
Bwalya stated this at the just concluded training which was conducted in the three most affected States of Borno, Yobe and Yola was to help them start or run their small businesses successfully.
He noted that northeast Nigeria had witnessed widespread destruction of both infrastructure and livelihoods by the militant group Boko Haram “Mostly drawn from communities ravaged by the nine-year long crisis, the trainees either had their businesses destroyed by Boko Haram or have found themselves residing in new locations with no means of sustaining themselves and their families.
“UNDP, with support from the Government of Norway, has provided vocational skills training in metal fabrication, tailoring, catering and decoration, mobile phone, computer repair, mechatronics, spray painting, among others to victims of the insurgents.
“The provision is part of efforts aimed at providing catalytic ingredients for communities to thrive again and lay a foundation for long term development to take place in a region,” he said.
He said that the beneficiaries had also been supported with start-up equipment so that they could secure alternative means of livelihoods beyond humanitarian handouts.
He said that Over 1.7 million people remain displaced across the region while hundreds have fled into neighbouring Cameroon.
“Not only have skilled labour become rare in communities because of mass displacement, victims have either lost their only sources of livelihood or have their breadwinners killed by the insurgent group.
“Remain have remained dependent on humanitarian aid.
“Entrepreneurship skills are needed to ensure that those with vocational skills only who either own businesses or wish to start anew are able to run their enterprises successfully,” Bwalya said
Bwalya said that UNDP was investing in these initiatives so that beneficiaries could apply knowledge acquired from these trainings to establish new businesses or expand existing ones and employ others within their communities.
According to him, this will consolidate UNDP’s ongoing efforts in meeting urgent early recovery needs in communities affected by the Boko Haram crisis.
“UNDP has been investing in early recovery interventions in the region with the aim of preparing communities for the day after the crisis.
“Prolonged development deficit in the region exposed millions to different kinds of vulnerabilities, a reality also attributable to the root causes of the crisis,” he said.
He said that UNDP was in the process of developing a comprehensive programme aimed at promoting entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
According to him, the programme will be anchored on three pillars; employability through market driven skills acquisition, innovation and entrepreneurship including financing for small businesses.
“Once launched, this programme will support the development of entrepreneurship and promote innovation in the country as part of the solution to addressing unemployment, especially among the youths,” he said
Nahyani Ijaraya one of the trainees at the end of the 6-day Entrepreneurship Training Workshop in Yola said that: “After this training, my life as a business woman will never be the same again.
“I will not run my business the way I did it before UNDP trained me on how to become a successful entrepreneur,” she stated.
Another trainee, Suzanah Geoffrey, a 39 years old mother of five said that she was teaching primary school in Madagali before the her place was attacked in 2015.
Suzanah who was full of praises to UNDP said that the training had helped her to understand how to do business to succeed and that she would impact the knowledge acquired on others.
Another Mohammad Kabir Mortala, from Maiduguri said the trainee was first of its kind expressed appreciation to UNDP who he said had impacted knowledge on him.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony in Yola, Haruna Furo, Permanent Secretary of the Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency, congratulated the graduates and urged them to apply their newly acquired knowledge in their daily business lives.
Haruna commended UNDP for the initiative stating that the intervention will go a long in changing lives of people in the State. “Thank you, UNDP, for the support and for investing in our people and our communities,” he added.