Ekpu Life-ND Project Develops Women, Youth Skills

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Ekpu Life-ND Project Develops Women, Youth Skills

Iduozee Efe Paul, Benin


The state project coordinator, Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in the Niger Delta (LIFE–ND), Mr. Jude Ekpu, says no fewer than 250 persons known as ‘incubatees’ have been trained on various agricultural businesses.

Ekpu said the aim of the project is to build and develop the capacity and skills of women and youths in Edo State to help them become self-reliant in life.

He made the disclosure at an interactive session with the media in Benin city, Edo state to highlight all the activities that the body had embarked on within the year.

Ekpu said the project is aimed at developing the supply of skilled youth labour using the incubation model which, according to him, is aimed at ensuring a successful rural agribusiness sector.

He disclosed that such as agric businesses include, fishery, poultry, cassava production and rice production in Edo State within one year.

According to him, under the project in Edo State, no fewer than 82 incubatees have been granted working capital after training.

He said when others are done with their training, they would be also receive take-off grants to start-off business.

Ekpu explained that 10 local government areas out of the 18 in the state have been selected for the implementation of the project with 10 communities selected from each LGA for the project.

According to him, this is to be “conducted in a way to mentor neighbouring youths to produce greater volumes, leading to higher value enterprises and community incomes, as well as jobs for the youth.”

Said he: “Within a year of our activities as a project office, the State Project has trained 250 incubatees and 50 incubators, with 125 incubatees and 25 incubators trained in two sets.

“Over 50 communities have donated land resource for effective project implementation. Over 1800 hectares of land has been secured under our land identification and land securing process as farmland for the incubatees.

“The target beneficiaries of the LIFE-ND project are youths and women in the Niger Delta r and the starget beneficiaries are the unemployed and under-employed youth aged 18-35 years and unemployed women who are heads of households with children less than 15 years of age.

“The percentage distribution of targets beneficiaries are as follows: 50 per cent male youths, 20 per cent female (women) and 30 per cent female youths.”

The National Agrobusiness Promotion coordinator, LIFE-ND, Mrs. Esenwa Anthonia said the project is aiming at improving the lot of 4250 persons.

“Our target is for about 4,250 youths and women-headed households to benefit from the project. Some of the incubatees, it is hoped, will later become incubators in the project after being empowered.

“The project came to Edo State following the success of the previously sponsored IFAD Programme, Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme – Niger Delta,” she explained.

In his opening remarks, the communication officer of the project in Edo State, Mr. Benedict Akhamie, solicited media support and cooperation, stressing that if LIFE-ND is not projected to the public through the media, no one will know such a project exists.

Akhamie said the programme will last for six years with their target youths as persons within the 18 to 25 years age range. Other requirements for consideration as beneficiary is that prospective candidates must be  youth that have interest in the program; women heading households, physically challenged persons,  unemployed and underemployed youths as well as communities that are receptive to the project.

LIFE-ND is a Project earmarked for the Niger Delta, designed in collaboration with federal government, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) with counterpart funding from the Edo State Government.