By Suzan Edeh
No fewer than 1,198 youths comprising of 948 girls and 250 boys in 37 communities across seven LGAs of Bauchi State have been trained within the past seven years in various skills acquisition programmes.
The beneficiaries of the training were drawn from Bauchi, Dass, Gamawa, Jama’are, Katagum, Toro and Warji LGAs.
The training was undertaken by Bauchi based non-governmental organizations which initiated and successfully implemented the programme designed to reduce the rate of school dropouts, street hawking, drugs abuse, early/forced marriages by empowering the adolescents with basic life skills and financial inclusion services.
It was initiated by the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and implemented in partnership with Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI) and Child is Gold Foundation (CIGF) with collaboration with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).
Speaking at the mass graduation ceremony of the beneficiaries held at the ML Audu Auditorium, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, an implementation partner of the program, Mrs. Zinatu Daniel Istifanus said that the ‘Life Skills Program for Girls and Boys’ – LSP4G&B’ is a practical tool that aimed to provide a safe environment for boys and girls’ empowerment with its activities encouraging interactivity, creativity, motivation, innovation and a positive learning process.
“The Life Skills Progeam for Girls and Boys is a project on gender and social inclusion strategy aimed at promoting gender equality and changing gender social norms and socio-ciltural factors affecting adolescent empowerment which stems from deprivations, descriminations and dependency practices that dehumanize and reduce adolescents especially girls to a low status in society,” She said.
Daniel said that the programme is funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), pointing out that adolescence period is a significant state of growth and development that marks the period of transition from childhood to adulthood, hence the need for the combination of cognitive and social skills to tackle their problems and prepare them for future challenges.
Earlier in a welcome speech, the Bauchi State Amirah of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Habiba Sa’ad Usman enjoined benefitting organizations of the Life Skills Program for Boys and Girls to ensure the sustainability of the programme in the state.
“These girls and boys were trained for the past seven years on issues that affects life skills. They have been trained on quality effectiveness and how they can improve upon and bring development into their communities” She said.
Habia Usman said that beneficiaries of the programme have skillfully and knowledgeably gained and learnt a lot during the training period.
Amirah Habiba Usman explained that the progromme has economically and socially impacted on the boys and girls to promote the growth and development of their respective communities across the twenty local government areas of Bauchi state.
She also said that the event marks the peak of countless hours of hard work, dedication and commitment of every stakeholder in the partnetship, saying however that on the part of girls and boys, the period of transition from childhood to adulthood is characterized by rapid psychological changes and maturation.
Also in a goodwill message to the graduation ceremony, the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Sirimbai Dahiru Usman Bauchi sa’id that his board has established a vocational centre at Miri, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis where youth are being trained on various skills for self-reliance.
Dr. Sirimbai Dahiru Bauchi disclosed that the North-East Zonal Smart School built in Bauchi would start enrolment of pupils and students from Nursery to Junior Secondary School commencing from the next academic session, as the Second Chance School built at the Games Village is also slated for enrolment from next session specifically for women to acquire knowledge and skills.
Sirimbai Dahiru who was represented by the Public Relations Officer of the board, Mohammed Abdullahi, stated that these were in addition to the Better Education Services Delivery for All (BESDA) which was a collaborative programme between federal and state governments and the World Bank for the training of school dropouts, almajiris and street hawkers being tutored by special teachers to achieve the set objectives.
Some of the beneficiaries of the empowerment programme commended the organisations involved in the training expressing happiness that they were part of the life changing opportunity.
They sang praises of MEDA for effectively mobilizing the resources for the training sessions which have positively impacted self reliance on them just as they commemded FOMWAN, FAWOYDI as well as GICF for the skills acquisition trainings