Delta State trains 450 girls on entrepreneurship, skills

Despite training over 5,000 youths in entrepreneurship and skills under its Job Creation Programme, the Delta State Government, Monday, kicked off a three-day entrepreneurship and skills training for 450 girls selected across the state.

Governor Okowa said that although a significant number of women have been trained and established through the programmes, it was necessary for his administration to design a special programme for the girl-child.

Those are girls from ages 18 to 13 because the empowerment of girls is a major public policy issue in the 21st century, he said.

He gave the explanation during the opening of the three-day Girls Entrepreneurship and Skills Training (GEST) programme for the 450 girls, at the indoor sports hall of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

He re-affirmed that his administration would sustain the empowerment of women and the girl-child to engender the uplifting of families’ economies and peace in the state.

According to him, girl-child empowerment was the process of uplifting the economic and social status of “traditionally underprivileged girls in a male-dominated social construct (patriarchy).

He, therefore, assured that if the 450 set of the beneficiaries was successful, his administration would scale up the number in 2021.

Okowa urged the beneficiaries to demonstrate a willingness to learn and imbibe the virtues of diligence and honesty, saying that it would help them to realise their dreams.

“From the onset of our S.M.A.R.T, now Stronger Delta agenda, we set out to unlock and unleash youth entrepreneurship through skills acquisition programmes that will resource our youths with the vocational skills, attitudes and tools to become self-employed and employers of labour.

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“The design and implementation of the job creation programme are trainee-centered, service-oriented, and results-based, hence the strategy is to turn unemployed youths into entrepreneurs, leaders, and managers.

“The training and mentoring process aim beyond raising entrepreneurs, to producing leaders and managers that have high levels of personal responsibility and personal effectiveness.

“I expect you to take full advantage of it by diligently applying yourself to the training. You must demonstrate a willingness to learn, capacity to grow and justify the trust and confidence of the government as it invests in your future.

“As for runners of PROJECT GEST, I charge you to be good ambassadors. You must lead by example and imbibe the virtues of discipline, focus, punctuality, hard work and accountability that constitute the ingredients for success in life.”

Okowa commended the Girl-Child Empowerment Office for the hard work it made in ensuring the kick-off of the programme and charged the personnel to stay focused on the goal, saying that
“empowering the girl child is a task that must be accomplished,’’ he declared.

Earlier in her remarks, the wife of the Governor and Founder of 05 Initiative, Edith Okowa, had urged participants at the training to see their selection as a privilege and not a right, reminding them that thousands of persons also applied for the programme.

She urged them to have passion for the training, and have integrity and commitment to ensure that they succeeded in their ventures.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Girl-Child Empowerment, Marilyn Okowa-Daramola, had in her welcome address, said that Project GEST was aimed at providing Delta girls between the ages of 18 years and 30 years with training on various skills, including fashion, hairdressing, make-up, and ICT.

“Project GEST is geared towards creating a newly empowered group of skilled young female entrepreneurs.

“It took three months of rigorous interviews to arrive at the 450 pioneer beneficiaries. A total of 5,970 applications were received from both online and hard copy applications, comprising 4,474 from trainees and 1,496 from trainers,” she disclosed.

She added that 873 persons were shortlisted and interviewed out of whom 450 successful ones were selected

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