Our youth must build con­fi­dence to sus­tain self, re­sist de­pen­dence, says Ad­vo­cate

Daily Trust - - DIGEST - By Si­mon E. Sun­day

Eu­gene Akhamiokhor Igha­bor is the Direc­tor/CEO of Africa Young Star Con­cepts, a youth ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion in Abuja. The 30 year old Masters stu­dent of Chem­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing at the Fed­eral Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Minna in this in­ter­view, said youth would need to build con­fi­dence in what they can do to suc­ceed. learn the skills. Due to lim­ited fund­ing, we only helped in sub­si­dis­ing the cost for the ben­e­fi­cia­ries but we paid fully for train­ing and start-up kits for the bead-mak­ing. @Si­monEchewo­fun

When did you start your ad­vo­cacy cam­paign?

We started this or­gan­i­sa­tion in 2015. We have been in the fore­front of pro­mot­ing youth and chil­dren. As the name im­plies, we are train­ing the youth and the chil­dren to be­come stars of to­mor­row. We have been hear­ing that youth are the lead­ers of to­mor­row, so we want to in­cul­cate the lead­er­ship spirit in them to be­come the best glob­ally.

Our slo­gan is, “catch them young to build a na­tion’, and in build­ing a na­tion, you could build a con­ti­nent. But we can’t build a con­ti­nent when we have not built the in­di­vid­ual so that is what we are do­ing.

What has the or­gan­i­sa­tion achieved so far?

For the past two years, we have or­gan­ised a lot of ac­tiv­i­ties like the lead­er­ship sem­i­nar for youth which we held in Abuja. We also or­gan­ised skills ac­qui­si­tion for youth and chil­dren and then em­pow­ered them in Dutse, a town in the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT).

For the chil­dren, we have been tak­ing our cam­paign to pri­mary schools within the FCT where we in­tro­duced the Young Ex­plor­ers’ Club (YEC). This is a new con­cept that we ini­ti­ated in schools to pro­mote sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing. It is an en­gi­neer­ing club where chil­dren are taught from videos and through demon­stra­tions could dis­man­tle tech­no­log­i­cal de­vices like elec­tri­cal fans and cou­ple them again and even power them with bat­tery.

You men­tioned the em­pow­er­ment of some youth in Dutse. How did you do it?

At Dutse, we trained the youth on bead mak­ing by pay­ing for re­source per­sons who trained them. We also got the ma­te­ri­als with which the trainees started their bead-mak­ing busi­ness af­ter they had trained.

Some other per­sons were at­tached to tai­lor­ing ex­perts to

What was your chal­lenge start­ing this ven­ture?

When I started, I had just N5,000 but I was de­ter­mined to push harder and I did. It was dif­fi­cult for me to get the ven­ture regis­tered but I over­came that. When you have that con­fi­dence in your­self and deter­mi­na­tion that you can achieve things by your­self, then you will go places. Presently, I have 12 per­sons in the team. While four are be­ing paid fully, the is­sue of fund­ing is in­hibit­ing pay­ment be­cause the other eight are vol­un­teer­ing but serv­ing self­lessly know­ing that it’s our ser­vice to the de­vel­op­ment of youth and Nige­ria.

To fund this, we have good per­sons com­ing to as­sist us but most of the fund­ing has been my savings. I some­times starve my­self to en­sure the ven­ture suc­ceeds be­cause of the pas­sion I have for the con­cept of em­pow­er­ing youth and chil­dren. We are ap­peal­ing to politi­cians, mul­ti­me­dia, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and other cor­po­rate or­gan­i­sa­tions to key into this pro­ject to bring out the best in the youth who are roam­ing

the streets

What do you think is the prob­lem of Nige­rian youth with your ex­pe­ri­ence so far?

The ma­jor chal­lenge is the spirit of de­pen­dence on govern­ment. We lack the ‘can do it’ spirit. The prob­lem we, youth have is not the money for busi­ness but the con­fi­dence that we can do things by our­selves. So we are lever­ag­ing on this to em­power youth to have the con­fi­dence to start their busi­ness. The Pres­i­dent, Nige­rian In­sti­tute of Train­ing and De­vel­op­ment (NITAD), Mrs Janet Jo­laoso has said Nige­rian youth should equip them­selves with nec­es­sary skills to be em­ploy­able.

Mrs Jo­laoso who spoke through the chair­man of the an­nual train­ers’ con­fer­ence of the In­sti­tute, Mr Oluwaseyi Ku­ton in La­gos, also said in­dus­tries are not em­ploy­ing some of the grad­u­ates due to lack of ba­sic skills needed to work in such in­dus­tries.

She said this year’s train­ers’ con­fer­ence of the In­sti­tute com­ing up on Septem­ber 12 in Enugu, will fo­cus on en­trepreneur­ship.

She said, “We have dis­cov­ered that many youths are not em­ploy­able be­cause of knowl­edge gap. Ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions in Nige­ria fo­cused just on aca­demics with­out skills and when stu­dents from such in­sti­tu­tions grad­u­ated, the in­dus­tries are not ready to em­ploy them.

“NITAD has iden­ti­fied this, so we are en­cour­ag­ing youth to ac­quire skills in or­der for them to be em­ploy­able,” Jo­laoso noted.

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