By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
TechnoServe Nigeria, a non governmental organisation, has trained 300 unemployed youths in Abuja and Enugu State as part of its plan to build competitive businesses, as well as tackling youths unemployment in developing countries.
The training under the Pan-African Youth Entrepreneur Empowerment Programme (PAYED), was funded by Citi Foundation.
Speaking with THISDAY during the graduating ceremony of the participants Monday in Abuja, the acting Country Director of TechnoServe, Ms. Ayokanmi Ayuba, said that the mission of the organisation was to work with enterprising people – men, women and youths to build competitive businesses, farms and industries.
She stressed that TechnoServe had been impacting on millions of lives globally, while also improving livelihoods and creating economic opportunities for the beneficiaries for the past 50 years.
Ayuba stated: “We are focused first, on the micro retail, so we have gone to youths who have existing businesses in the micro retail space, in fast moving consumer goods like shoe making, beauty shops; and what we have tried to do is introduced them to skills and tools that will help them improve their business.”
She added that TechnoServe has also worked with the employed youths segment, those who prefer to work in corporate organisation, by improving their Curriculum Vitae (CV) and making them employable.
Ayuba stressed, “We are also working with enterprising youths in this project, for those who say I want to start my business, so what we do is to empower them. We have delivered the initiative that will help and motivate these youths in starting their business.
“The PAYED programme is basically about addressing the youths unemployment and we have done this since 2017. This programme is also taking place in both Abuja and Enugu. We have worked with 550 youths. 120 are graduating in Abuja today and we will be graduating about 180 in Enugu.”
The acting Country Director explained that TechnoServe had a gender focused policy that ensures that 40 per cent of of its beneficiaries, in whatever area intervention are women
Asked if the empowerment programme include startup capital for the beneficiaries, Ayuba explained that the organisation only ensured that the beneficiaries have access to capital through its partnership with Micro Finance banks who give.
Ayuba said that the criteria for selecting the participants was through advertisement on social media and in most cases through testimonies of previous beneficiaries who also inform their friends and relatives.
“We trained them for four month and eight month of after-care. After-care include structured advisory, one-on-one either with the micro retailer or with the unemployed youths. You can only cross into the after-care phase after finishing all the training.”
One of the participants, Ms. Elizabeth Aare, said that she has learnt a lot from the training, which has now helped her in establishing her own training school for baking.
She said, “I’m grateful to PAYED for organising this programme, I think this programme was organised just for my sake. I can say that because I have achieved a whole lot.
“They are doing a whole lot, helping retailer to build their businesses, helping unemployed youths. This is what government is meant to do but the government is not doing it but PAYED has taken a bold step and I’m proud of them.”