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UNDP, EU begin vocational training for 600 conflict-affected persons from Borno State

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri

UNDPand European Union have kicked off the first batch of EU fully-funded vocational training for 600 conflict-affected persons from Borno State enrolled in the Integrated Community Recovery and Resilience in Borno State (IC2RB) programme. Under the programme implemented by the UNDP, beneficiaries are being trained in 24 different skills such as aluminium fabrication, catering & decoration, hair dressing, tailoring, welding & fabrication, auto mechanic, auto mobile technology, mechatronics, cattle fattening, crop production, fish production, shoe making/leather works, etcetera.

The crisis in North-East Nigeria, now in its tenth year has spilled into the Lake Chad region, with 7.1 million people in Nigeria in need of humanitarian assistance. Prolonged 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 support for survival.

The vocational trainings are aimed at those affected by the conflict to be self-reliant as they rebuild their lives. The trainees consist of 262 females and 338 males from across 27 Local Governments of the State who will undergo training for 3-12 months.

At the matriculation ceremony for 550 trainees, the representative of the EU said: "I am pleased to see that the selection of beneficiaries for vocational training has been done and very soon training will start, giving them the possibility to choose 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 home and are today displaced, to recover their livelihood becoming 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 end of completion of their training will receive start-up cash grants for business purposes”.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and European Union (EU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Borno State Government (BOSG) 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 sufferings as well as to make them self reliant, entrepreneurs and employers of labour in their rights.

The youths that matriculated in two days, Monday and Tuesday, at the Ramat Polytechnic Maiduguri Umar El Kanemi Conference Hall and Mohammed Lawan College of Agriculture Conference Hall were said to have been selected from all the 27 LGAs of the state .

The training is expected to last for a period of three to four months under intensive training and monitoring as well as series of tests as the training was sub divided into categories where 300 youths and women will be trained at Ramat Polytechnic ,Maiduguri, 200 beneficiaries will be trained at Mohammed Lawan College of Agriculture Maiduguri and 100 youths and women will be trained at the Nigerian Institute of Leather Studies Kaduna and Abuja respectively.

According to Head of Sub Office, UNDP, Mizuho 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 DYE, shoe making and leather works among others.

She added that UNDP in the state has already provided Agricultural Extension Services Training to over 9000 farmers last year in three states of the north east affected by the boko Haram Insurgency.

Mizuho said also that UNDP had trained over 1,500 youths and women in Borno State apart from rehabilitation of three Vocational Centres in Borno State while urging the participants to be serious and dedicated to their respective vocational skills as anybody that successfully graduates, will be given a starter pack and token money to Strat up their own business and become self reilent as well as employer of labour or entrepreneurs.

She warned them to be disciplined and exhibit good habit as well conduct themselves properly during the training period by observing the rules of the game and constituted authorities, especially, the facilitators and instructors..

Mizuho said the yoiths must be ever ready to commit themselves as matriculated beneficiaries while appreciating the state government, school authorities and the matriculated 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, Borno State, Hajjya Yabawa Kolo said in her remark 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 Insurgency.

She added that the state government has been in cordial relationship with the UNDP and other iNGOs in many partnerships and MOUs on humanitarian and livelihood support programmes for the IDPs and host communities.

Kolo pledged to continue to partner with the UN to empower the youths, particularly, the womenfolk who are today either widows or orphans while thanking the organisation for their support and assistance to the youths and women.

European Union Representatives, Kabir Abbas and Ringpom Gwamzhi assured of the readiness of the EU to support the training programme to a success by making the participants self emoyed and future entrepreneurs.

EU Representatives also advised them to be serious, committed, dedicated and determined to the training programme as it will be useful to them in future while appealing to them to make proper use of the opportunity they got from UNDP and EU to be matriculated for the vicational skills training.

Kabir Abbas urged the implementators 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

Representatives of State Ministries of Poverty Alleviation and Youths Empowerment, Higher Education, Agriculture, RRR, Ramt 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.

Through the “Integrated Community Recovery and Resilience in Borno State Programme”, The EU is investing 15 million euros 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 stabilization 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 in Borno State in 2018.