Governor Rochas Okorocha
The maiden edition of Imo State stakeholders’ summit is billed to hold in Owerri in November, where the integrated young people’s action plan would be formally presented to the public.
This plan followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Imo state government and a non-governmental organisation, Forward Africa, on the process.
The MoU is an aftermath of the development of a three-year young people development action plan, which was produced through a coalition of Ministries, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), departments and Agencies. The action plan, for 2012 to 2015, was facilitated by Forward Africa, and sponsored by the Ford Foundation.
The action plan, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, was presented to the state government through the Imo State Ministry of Youth and Sports, which also signed the MoU on behalf of the state.
In a speech at the signing ceremony, the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Mr. Kenneth Emelu, commended the NGO for initiating such a noble project that would catalyse various youth empowerment programmes in the state that would be of immense benefit to the young people.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Obinna Ofomadu, pledged that the government would render the necessary support and provide logistics to ensure successful implementation of the project.
Earlier, the Executive Director of Forward Africa, Chibuzo Oriuwa, had thanked the various government ministries and agencies for partnering the NGO to develop the action plan. Oriuwa expressed happiness with the Ford Foundation for funding the project.
The Imo state young people development action plan is a product of intensive collaboration and dedication by the core stakeholders that matter in the delivering of services to young people.
Also involved in the formulation of the action plan are the CSOs and the media. The document had earlier been ratified by the advisory body on the integrated project to improve the young people reproductive health and development.
Commenting on the action plan, Oriuwa observed that the youths suffered a lot of neglect which had led them to various negative forms of behaviour.
“The societal ills associated with the young people can be checked if deliberate programmes are planned to involve the youths in the various activities of the government”, the Executive Director stated.
She explained that Forward Africa was implementing a project titled ‘Building and expanding partnership for promoting integrated programming to prove the sexual and reproductive health of in-school youths in South East Nigeria’, with the support from the Ford Foundation.
According to her, Forward Africa has carried out advocacy visits to various officers connected with youth programmes in Imo.
“So far, 147 teachers in various Junior Secondary Schools have been trained on the family life and HIV Education (FLHE) Curriculum and the training is still on-going, with plan under way to train all the Area Inspectors of Education (AIE) in the state before the end of 2012,” Oriuwa said.