Poverty alleviation and youth empowerment in Borno

Many studies the world over have shown that economic growth is not sustainable unless it includes and is complemented by coherent, clear and I, implementable poverty alleviation agenda and strategy targeted at the poor and vulnerable.

It is in recognition of this concept and the people's plight together with the quest to fight poverty that the Ministry of Poverty and Youth Empowerment was created by the government of Borno State. Its purpose is to midwife the eradication of poverty among the people . The ministry is mainly to create jobs and wealth training the people in different skills.

The ministry is also to empower the unemployed graduates, the vulnerable and less privileged in the society through procurement and distribution of poverty alleviation materials, disbursement of micro-credit loans to petty traders and entrepreneurs.

Under the leadership o f Governor Kashim Shettima, the vision of the ministry has been, " to transform the idle minds of youth, women and people with special needs and other vulnerable persons into wealth creating activities through functional skills acquisition training for the attainment of meaningful livelihood", while its mission has been, "formulation of policies, programmes and other activities towards promoting and enhancing the development of youth, women empowerment as well as developing strategies of transforming the rural populace through community participation 7n the provision of facilities and infrastructure that results in higher standard of living through meaningful livelihood."

Addressing the Press in Maiduguri recently on the activities of her Ministry, the Commissioner Dr. Zainab Gimba said for the actualisation of these objectives, the policy thrust has been: creating the economic base and support system that enables young people and women to sustain life, wealth and wellbeing, provision of adequate reasons for implementing youth related programmes and supportive legal administrative frameworks (to protect youth and women from abuse and exploitation), provision of a peaceful and secure environment, to enable the youth lead a productive life in the society.

Others include facilitating easy access to knowledge, information and skills and promote economic growth and standard of living of the rural populace.

The ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Youth Empowerment had been involved in many activities in the last two years to fulfil its obligation of bettering the lives of the people . These includes : Block Moulding Industry, Skill acquisition,

Programmes, Entrepreneurship Development, Public works and sundry others.

The programmes have also been undertaken in collaboration with various government agencies which includes Ministry of local government and Chieftaincy Affairs , Women Affairs, Agriculture, Education, as well as others.

Worried by the level of graduate unemployment and high poverty index the present administration placed high premium on training of youths in various trades with the ultimate goal of creating jobs and wealth to the targeted beneficiaries .

The training also serve as means of socio-economic empowerment and self reliance to those without formal educational background commonly referred to as less privileged and vulnerable in society.

Some of the giant strides recorded by the ministry includes training in block moulding using the hydraform machines which were purchased in large numbers together with their accessories. The machines which have high production capacity over the conventional blocks in terms of cost, ease of transportation and speedy production process using soil and cement mixture is now in high demand.

The hydraform machines are also being used to train thousands of youths in the art of laterite brick making and roofing sheets. The finished product are used to construct public buildings all over the state.

Under the skills acquisition programme, hundreds of youths have undergone training at Sabore Farms, Katsina Craft centre and various other programmes to enhance their agricultural output.

The Borno State Government has also concluded arrangements with the Industrial Training Fund to embark on three months intensive training in Welding, Garment making and Furniture Works . More than 1000 youths from across the state are to participate in the programme.

From the time the administration of Governor Kashim Shettima took over the mantle of leadership in Borno, it is safe to say that the last two years have really been a period of positive transformation despite the daunting security challenges occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency.

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Articles by Ibrahim-Gwamna Mshelizza