Empowerment: Dutch Government commends SOS Children’s Village for training 863 youths

The Dutch Government has commended the SOS Children’s Villages, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) on graduating 863 youths from its ‘The Next Economy (TNE 11)’ Programme.

Sonia Fajusigbe, the Economic Policy Adviser, Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment, Netherland Consulate, spoke at the Lagos close-out event on Saturday.

She said that among the 863 youths trained, 405 youths were trained in core life skills, 364 youths were trained in employability skills and 94 were trained for internships/jobs.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that “The Next Economy” programme is a transformative initiative of the SOS Children’s Villages in Nigeria and the Netherland and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The TNE empowers youths in Nigeria, enabling them to harness their talents, boost their self-assurance, and refine the essential skills required for a thriving career either in the workforce or as budding entrepreneurs.

The progamme is wrapping up its second phase, which has been operational since 2020, and was held in three locations in Nigeria namely Lagos, Abuja, and Jos.

Fajusigbe said that the TNE was one of the programmes under its Local Employment Development Initiative in Africa (LEAD programme), which had been running for the last eight years.

She said that the main objective of the programme was to create 17,000 jobs for youths in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Horn of Africa.

“The TNE has three components: the entrepreneurship track, the employability track and the core life skills track.

“It is amazing and shocking to know that you can get a good job but you need life skills to keep the job.

“These life skills include punctuality, emotional intelligence, ability to adapt and tolerate, as well as ability to be innovative in an organisation,” Fajusigbe said.

According to her, the programme is based on the Dutch government’s principle called the youth unheard policy.

“The reason we are focusing on youths is because at the moment we have about a billion plus youths on the planet. And in the next few years, it will increase to two billion plus youths and of course, Nigeria is not left out of this equation.

“The greatest asset we have in Nigeria is not our crude oil, it’s not the gas resources we have in the Niger Delta, but the young people we have who are the future of Nigeria.

“Currently about 70 per cent of our population is made up of young people between ages 15 years to 35 years.

“We are sitting on a rich resource that needs to be harnessed and that is what the TNE 11 is doing,” Fajusigbe said.

Also, Ahmed Bappare, Programme Manager, SOS Children’s Villages, Lagos, said that throughout the TNE 11 programme, the NGO had witnessed the power of education, self-improvement, skills acquisition and mentorship in shaping the lives of their young participants.

Bappare said that it was through the determination, resilience and unwavering commitment of the participating youths that they had embraced personal growth.

He noted that the youths had expanded their horizons and developed the skills needed to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving world.

“Today, we celebrate not only the individual successes of our participants but also the collective impact we have made as stakeholders” he said.

Mrs Bose Ironsi, Executive Director, Women’s Right and Health Project (WRAHP), an NGO, said that the objectives of the project were very laudable.

Ironsi said the programme was much more needed in the country today, especially when there was a teeming number of youths, some of which are unemployable.

She said that what was interesting was the fact that they extended the training to core skills which was lacking in majority of youths today.

She noted that from feedbacks from participants, the training met its objectives.

A beneficiary, Ms Temitope Ibrahim, said that service to humanity had no limits, “the more you do, the more the reward.”

Ibrahim said that it might look as if nothing was coming out from the extensive training they had just undergone, but on the long run, it would pay off.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria