UNICEF, EU flag off skills’ acquisition training for 25,000 IDP youths in Borno

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICE) and European Union (EU) are to organize a skills’ acquisition training programme for 25,000 internally-displaced youths in Borno State.

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 be in batches for the next three years, is aimed at empowering indigent young people with vocations so they can return to school or support their children and communities 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 would be empowered with skills in painting, shoe making, interlocking, poultry farming, sewing and catering.

Kaddoura, also disclosed that over 1,000 Borno youths had enrolled in the first three-month cycle of the programme across five local government areas of the state.

He stated that opportunities to earn income would boost school enrolment and literacy rates among conflict-affected young people in the state.

“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 skills’ acquisition project will recognize the invaluable place of literacy even in commerce.

“They become champions of education in their communities,” he said.

The Borno State Executive Secretary, SAME, Alhaji Ali Mustapha, while speaking to poultry farming trainees at the event stated, “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, told journalists that the training had 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,” Ali said.

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