SEA-Hub: Tackling Unemployment with ‘Catch Them Young’
A German intervention agency for inculcating entrepreneurship in secondary school students in Nigeria, has been yielding positive results, writes James Sowole
Members of Students Entrepreneurship Activity-Hub (SEA-Hub) Club in some secondary schools in Nigeria have demonstrated that one of the ways by which unemployment can be reduced in the country is for youths to imbibe the spirit of entrepreneurship while they are still , and then, develop as they are growing up.
SEA-Hub is one of the pragmatic interventions of a German Technical Development Corporation (GIZ), aimed at supporting employment stimulus, through improving the income situation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME), under its Pro-Poor Growth and Employment in Nigeria tagged “GIZ-SEDIN.”
The main aim of the intervention in secondary schools is the introduction of basic entrepreneurship training to students, under the Catch Them Young Approach.
As at now, the club is active in the Federal Capital Territory and 11 states including Lagos, Ogun, Edo, Niger, Yobe, Kaduna, Delta, Osun and Oyo. The project covers 54 local government areas in active states.
At a media parley with select journalists from states where the SEA-Hub is active and a tour of some secondary participating secondary schools in Lagos State, revealed that entrepreneurship remains a major means of creating employment for Nigeria’s teeming youth population.
At the two schools visited in Lagos – Alimosho Senior Grammar School and Abesan Senior High School – all in Alimosho Local Government Area, students were already developing various products and services being rendered.
A unique feature of some of the products of the students of the two schools visited was that they solved some societal and environmental problems with the productions, just as some were in conformity with waste to wealth agenda.
At Alimosho Senior Secondary School, the mosquito repellent produced by these students had rabbit urine as a major ingredients. While reducing mosquito bite with the product, which is a major cause of malaria whereas, the urine of rabbit used as one of the ingredients, constituted environmental pollution, where they are being reared.
Other products of the Alimosho Senior Secondary School, SEA-Hub Club are liquid and bar soaps, as well as plantain chips.
In the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the students developed an App for major subjects like English Language, Mathematics, Economics, Government and to which students have subscribed.
At Abesan Senior High School, members of the club, were into fashion design, hair dressing, tie and die, beads making and other handiworks.
A unique feature about the handiwork, was the development of an App that can link those who need services of an artisans with specific one that they need.
Already thinking and acting like real entrepreneurs, members of the club have formed management team, which serves as board of directors, with some functioning in various capacities as Managing Director, Finance Director, Marketing Director, Accountants, Production Manager, Material Manager and others.
Addressing the GIZ team separately, Boluwatife Akinfenwa and Nkowua Wisdom, the Managing Director of Alimosho Senior Secondary School and Abesan Senior High School SEA-Hub Club, respectively, lauded the intervention of the German Development Agency.
Akinfenwa, who explained the operation of the club in her school, said the project had opened their eyes to the fact that entrepreneurship, is the way to go in terms of employment creation.
According to her, what they started very small with little contribution among members of the club, had blossomed to the level that the club is now contributing to the environment in form of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Akinfenwa, a Senior Secondary School 3 student, explained that members of the club never allowed the project to affect their academic pursuit. She said rather than allowing the project to affect them, it had only taught them how to manage their time and be more hardworking.
That the SEA-Hub was already having impacts, was revealed by two graduates of the programme, Olayemi Olamide and Olusanjo Egbewunmi.
While Olayemi is into tie and dye, Egbewunmi had developed an App which he was using to link people who needs skilled labour in different vocation. The two graduates, who addressed the media parley that preceded the tour of some schools, disclosed that they joined the club in 2019 in their different schools.
Olayemi said: “I joined SEA-Hub in 2019 when I was at Ijebu Igbo Girls Grammar School, Ogun State. I started the tie and dye vocation by asking people to bring their faded clothes so that I can renew them.
“Before I knew what was happening, many people started giving me their old clothes for renewal. Gradually, I graduated into dying of new clothes. Today, I now produce adire clothes from start to finish and the business is now booming. I now teach students of my former school, how to make adire and operating under RAYYEMIS Clothing’s (Everything Adire). At a Media Parley that preceded the tour, the Head of Cluster, Sustainable Economic Development , GIZ Nigeria Markus Wauschkuhn, gave an insight into the activities of the German Agency to Nigeria. particularly on SEA-Hub.
He said no fewer than 140,000 Nigerians had benefitted from financial literacy programme being sponsored by the GIZ.
The GIZ boss also disclosed that the agency had enhanced entrepreneurship skills for over 30,000 students and created over 5,000 new jobs to support value chains under its Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria Programme, known as (SEDIN).
Wauschkuhn said a second edition of the SEA-Hub national competition among secondary schools in Nigeria was scheduled to hold in Abuja adding that SEA-Hub activities involved students from both private and public secondary schools in the participating states.
According to Wauschkuhn, the SEA-Hub national competition, was a follow-up to the state competitions that were concluded in five states and from which 15 schools were chosen to represent their states at the second competition holding on October 24, 2022.
He explained that SEA-Hub state competitions were held in Plateau, Lagos, Edo, Ogun and Niger States in June 2022. According to him, students during the state competitions, showcased various innovative products and services that they started with little or no capital, which is one of the key mandates of SEA-Hub.
The head of programme, said the 15 participating schools were chosen after they had exhibited and presented their business ideas at their respective states.
Wauschkuhn said: “SEA-Hub activities have led to the revival of co-curricular slots within the schools. Aside running mini businesses, SEA-Hub students now implement community projects from their business proceeds as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects while about 700 teachers have been impacted directly and indirectly with a number of them running their own businesses as a result.
“For young people, it is difficult to find full and productive employment and decent work. To harness and turn the growing youth unemployed population in the country into an asset, we need an urgent focus on economic activities that can thrive and yield demographic dividends for the nation.
“SEA-Hub was therefore borne out of the need to improve skills and prepare young people for a secure future. By catching them young, the SEA-Hub project is equipping secondary school students with entrepreneurship training in a way that develops their skills to be agile, sustainable and transferable in ever-changing environments and situations.”
Speaking at the parley, the Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Government on Education, Ms. Adeola Salau, said the state was in partnership with GIZ-SEDIN to create student entrepreneurs in the state.
Salau said student entrepreneurs under the project were regarded as managers of their small businesses within the schools in three local government areas of the state – Alimosho, Agege and Ifako-Ijaiye.
According to her, “we created these entrepreneurship clubs in 24 schools, both in junior and senior secondary schools and there were a lot of training programmes for both the teachers and the students.
“The main focus of this programme is to make sure that our students are able to fish for themselves. It is one thing to constantly keep on waiting for people to give you what you need, but another thing to be able to go and get what you need yourself and say ‘you know what, I am a self-providing human being.’