Beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s scheme to empower almost 39,000 youths and women in the Niger Delta known as Life Improvement Family Enterprises-Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) have poured commendations on the FG.
They have commended the scheme for helping to create access to funds and skills for them to become employers of labour and creators of wealth instead of being liabilities to the society.
One of them, Emmanuella Agbodo from Bayelsa State told newsmen at Golden Tulip Hotel in the GRA 2 where the certification scheme was launched last week that they had benefitted a lot. He said they had been empowered and mentored during incubation.
He said he particularly trained in gender action naming system, financial inclusion, and poultry.
Another beneficiary, Atuke ThankGod from Delta State said they got a lot of benefits, saying those who love farming got a lot of training on it. “We got opportunity to go into agric, lectures and proper cultivation.
“LIFE-ND has done a lot. I see myself as an employer. There is not much challenge. Our mentors always help us. We have passed through much financial training, budget planning, keeping the books, enterprise names, etc.”
Explaining the event, the National Project Coordinator of LIFE-ND, Sanni Fatai Abiodun, said the launch of certification of LIFE-ND as an entrepreneurship development institute by NIRSAL Micro Finance Bank (MFB) was to open the way for the trained participants to move to the micro finance bank (MFB) for access to the funds provided by IFAD and other partners.
He said: “Partners/sponsors being International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), are supporting the LIFE-ND project to another milestone in entrepreneurship development in the region.”
He said the programme is an eloquent testimony of FG’s concern and determination to create massive impact in the Niger Delta.
To implement development goals of the FG through LIFE-ND directly supports Nigeria agricultural policy and strategic framework for youth employment and job creation.
“It is therefore, why poverty alleviation and youth/women empowerment are the core of our project activities. This event is meant to enlighten stakeholders of the project in the region and country at large that LIFE-ND has further raised the bar in implementing project activities. This is done by correctly translating into sustainable structures the seriousness for which the FG and participating states have taken entrepreneurship development in the region.
He said entrepreneurship development equips the unemployed with skills and tools needed to fight idleness, hunger, poverty, and economic hardship. “The transfer of skills and knowledge requires institutional structures to validate such activities which is why the certification of our project as an Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) is a milestone worthy of making being made known to stakeholders.”
What took place in PH is the launch of the certification that allows trainees gain access to finance.
In an interview, Abiodun admitted that the failure of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to remit $30m as counterpart fund has made it impossible for participants from Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states to participate even as the programme is about to do midterm assessment.