UNICEF Commends GenU 9JA Initiative As Critical for Nation’s Future

UNICEF Commends GenU 9JA Initiative As Critical for Nation’s Future

Rebecca Ejifoma

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commended the GenU 9JA, a public-private-youth partnership platform as critical for Nigeria’s future.

The UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria and host of the GenU platform, Cristian Munduate, remarked at the high-level meeting to assess the progress made in 2023 by the GenU 9JA.

Among the private stakeholders at the meeting were IHS Towers, Microsoft, Airtel, Unilever, ATC, Jobberman, Cisco and MTN along with government, youth, development partners and officials of UNICEF.

GenU 9JA has been a cornerstone in addressing the digital and skills gaps, as well as amplifying the voices of millions of young people in an endeavour to support their transition from learning to earning.

Hence, Munduate emphasised the urgency of GenU 9JA. “With a significant portion of the Nigerian population lacking access to quality services, a public-private-youth partnership platform such as GenU 9JA is critical for our nation’s future.

“It’s a testament to the power of collaboration between public and private sectors as well as youth as generational agents of change”.

With the current education crisis in Nigeria, this partnership has markedly enhanced digital access, learning, and soft and job-related skills for Nigerian children, adolescents and youth.

The Commissioner of Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mobolaji Ogunlende commended the initiative.

He said: “UNICEF GenU 9JA embodies our commitment to youth empowerment. By equipping our youth, we’re investing in Nigeria’s future, fostering a generation poised for sustainable development and economic prosperity.”

The Director of Partnerships at the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Iruka Ndubuizu, highlighted the significance of partnerships for youth development.

He said: “The private sector’s involvement in this platform is aimed at providing holistic support to young people and nurturing a resilient economy fueled by our most valuable asset – our youth.”

Key achievements of GenU 9JA in 2023 include Connectivity and Digital Learning. Exceeding targets, the initiative with private sector contributions benefitted over 2 million young people through connected underserved communities and 820 schools. It boosted learning through platforms like the Nigeria Learning Passport (nearly 750,000 users) and the Youth Agency MarketPlace, YOMA.

Workplace Readiness
The initiative has equipped over 800,000 young Nigerians with essential skills and livelihood opportunities, with platforms like YOMA linking users to diverse learning and engagement opportunities provided by private sector partners.

Youth Engagement
UNICEF’s U-Report is reaching nearly 5.5 million young people and youth have been benefitting from volunteering experiences, in support of campaigns, thereby enhancing their work experience whilst driving change for children in Nigeria.

Young volunteers contributed to registering the birth of nearly eight million children during the recent e-birth registration campaign across the country.

As GenU 9JA looks to the future, today’s meeting was a reflective and strategic session aimed at further empowering Nigerian youth.

The public-private partnership remains committed to creating a nurturing environment for every young Nigerian to thrive and contribute meaningfully to their society.

Members of GenU 9JA:
The Federal Ministry of Education, The Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, Airtel.

Others are IHS Towers, ATC Nigeria, Impact Hub, Jobberman, PwC, Tech4Dev, Microsoft, MTN, Cisco, Unilever, DSM-Firmenich, TEF, EME Entertainment, Vanguard Newspapers, Troy Media

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