The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), a non-profit organization that promotes peace and equitable economic growth in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region through multi-stakeholder partnerships, has awarded over N104million in grants to 12 implementing partners to train 1,000 youths in the Niger Delta region on various technical and soft vocational skills for at least six months, starting in May, 2022.
Tunji Idowu, the Executive Director of PIND disclosed this during a grant signing ceremony for the scale-up of the PIND’s Niger Delta Youth Employment Pathways (NDYEP) project.
NDYEP was conceived in 2018 to develop models of youth training in which marginalized young people are trained in market-relevant skills and subsequently supported into sustainable jobs or enterprise.
The pilot project was sponsored by Ford Foundation. Between 2018 and 2021, 4,355 youths were trained and equipped with in-demand vocational skills in four growing sectors (ICT, building construction, agriculture and finished leather). A total of 2,033 of the successful participants were linked to immediate waged employment or supported to commence innovative enterprises of their own.
At the signing ceremony which was also to onboard the 12 implementing partners involved in the project’s scale up in Abia, Akwa Ibom and Rivers state, the PIND Executive Director commended the implementing partners whose efforts, he noted, led to the success of the project.
“I would like to acknowledge our implementing partners whose performance during the pilot phase led to its success”, Idowu said.
He urged them to improve their service delivery in the scale-up phase to ensure the youth participants make early transitions to jobs and entrepreneurship after vocational skills training.
He also explained PIND’s decision to scale up the project to the original pilot states was based on the fact that there still remained a need for such due to the lack of a feasible economic environment that opened doors for waged income.
Idowu also called on the governments of the states within the Niger Delta to complement PIND’s efforts by adopting the NDYEP model and further scaling it up to cater to the youth in their states.
“Although a lot is still being expected from the Niger Delta state governments, models such as the NDYEP will continue to pose evident examples for replication”, he said.
Following its success in the pilot states, the project was extended to Delta State in 2021 as the Delta Youth Employment Pathways Project.
The project provides skills training and reskilling for young school leavers as well as soft skills for reshaping attitude and behaviour.
The event which took place at PIND’s Economic Development Centre (EDC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was attended by the Director General of Port Harcourt Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA), Erasmus Chukunda; PIND’s Executive Director, Tunji Idowu; and the former NDYEP Project Lead and Coordinator, Emeka Ile, among other distinguished guests.