On Thursday, July 19th 2018, we graduated 1,500 beneficiaries of trainings on livelihood skills. The ceremony was the culmination of collaborative work between ActionAid Nigeria and LikeMinds Project on a project funded by the Italian Ministry of Interior.
The project, Creation of alternatives to irregular migration through socio-economic development, sensitization and conflict prevention, seeks to reduce vulnerability of youth to poverty and conflict through livelihood skill training. Beneficiaries were drawn from 5 wards in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Jere Local Governments of Borno State and grouped into 38 cooperatives in training areas such as poultry, cosmetology, animal breeding, vegetable farming, fabrications, and fashion. The 9-month program enrolled a total of 880 female and 620 male beneficiaries.
Speaking during his welcome address, our Programme Manager, Meekam Mgbenwelu, thanked partners and critical stakeholders, especially community leaders, for ensuring the success of the project. He congratulated beneficiaries and charged them to leverage livelihood skills toward self sustenance.
In her remarks, Country Director for ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, reiterated the commitment of #ActionAid to supporting local communities in fighting poverty and injustice that has seen it maintain presence in 45 countries. She congratulated beneficiaries and explained the premise behind the objective of creating alternatives to irregular migration and how self sustenance can help mitigate its prevalence and negative impacts. She urged beneficiaries to continuously communicate with project coordinators from both LikeMinds Project and ActionAid Nigeria.
Chairman of the Borno Humanitarian Response Commission Dr. Bulama Mali Gubio, mni, took the opportunity of his goodwill message to remind the audience of the vacuum left by rural-urban migration. He drew connections between migration and the widening of ungoverned spaces in rural areas which have led to safe havens for insurgencies to thrive. He charged beneficiaries to use the new knowledge to rebuild their lives.
In a passionate message of appreciation, Hauwa a beneficiary of the training, brought the audience to its feet with her show of immense gratitude for the opportunity. She explained how options for self sustenance were shrinking fast for young women and youth, resulting in increased incidences of vices such as drug abuse and prostitution. She called on the government at both the State Executive and Legislative arms to support the work of the project and ensure that larger numbers of people are encouraged to find means of self sustenance.
Deputy Speaker of the Borno State House of Assembly, Hon. , expressed gratitude to both LikeMinds and ActionAid for ensuring the success of the program. He pledge the commitment of the House to support greater access to interventions like this. He was then given a tour of an exhibition of empowerment equipment such as sewing machines and poultry feeds.
The ceremony ended with presentation of certificates to representatives of the many cooperatives.