By Bukar Bolori
Twenty-five thousand internally displaced youths in Borno State are slated for skill acquisition programme of the United Nations Children’s Fund and European Union.
The programme, which is a partnership between the Borno State’s Agency for Mass Education (SAME) and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, is supported by the European Union.
The programme, which is expected to train youths in batches over the next three years, is aimed at empowering indigent young people with vocations so they can return to school or support their children and community in the uptake of education services.
Speaking at the flag off ceremony of vocation centres in Maiduguri at the weekend, Education Manager, UNICEF Borno Field Office, Dr. Nasser Kaddoura, said youths living in communities in Hawul, Gwoza, Mobbar, Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, Monguno and Jere local government areas will be empowered with skills in painting, shoe making, interlocking, poultry farming, sewing and catering.
Kaddoura, who disclosed that over 1,000 Borno youths have enrolled in the first three-month cycle of the programme across five local government areas of the state, stated that opportunities to earn income will boost school enrolment and literacy rates among conflict-affected young people in the state.
He said: “This intervention is a part of the resilience component of an EU project to strengthen communities in Borno State to demand for education. As UNICEF continues to support the state government in providing quality education to children in many communities, adolescents and young adults who go through the skill acquisition project will recognize the invaluable place of literacy even in commerce. They become champions of education in their communities.”
Also speaking to poultry farming trainees at the event, the Executive Secretary, SAME, Alhaji Ali Mustapha, said:
“We say there is no money in circulation, but we have skills in circulation. I want to advise you to follow-up your customers with phone calls. You must develop your marketing skills as well. I want you to know that Borno is ready for you. We are ready even if you sell each chicken at N2,000. We thank UNICEF and EU for bringing this programme to Borno.”
Falmata Ali, 18, a poultry farming trainee from the Bakassi IDP Camp in Maiduguri said the training has been comprehensive so far. “I have been here for seven weeks and what I have learnt is beyond my imagination. Now I know about different feeds and how to keep the birds healthy.
“We are selling some of the chickens today for the first time and I can see that I can depend on income from poultry farming. This is better than staying back in the camp with nothing to do. I can buy food and other basic things for my family,.”