By GBENGA OLARINOYE, Osogbo
The World Bank has approved the Osun Youths Empowerment Scheme (OYES), a programme of the state government as a major intervention in reducing youth unemployment in the state.
The World Bank’s team leader on youth employment, Professor Foluso Okunmadewa disclosed this after an assessment tour of the OYES programmes in the state.
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola had in his first 100 days in office in February, 2011 employed 20,000 cadets mostly youths, to serve the state in various capacities ranging from environmental to traffic control in the state.
Similarly, the state government’s efforts on youth empowerment has received a boost, as it has been earmarked to benefit from the N50 billion World Bank/ Federal Government youth employment fund.
Profesor Okunmadewa stated that the state government has achieved a milestone in the area of engaging youths in community development and the World Bank is looking into areas to help the government expand the scope of the scheme.
According to him, “this is the third time we are coming to the state to assess the scheme and so far, we have discovered that the government is showing other states in the country how to get their youths gainfully engaged.
“From our past interaction with the officials of the scheme, we discovered that the scheme is getting beneficiaries involved in community responsibility and this time, we are seeking the response of the corps members so as to understand it more and help the state build upon the success it has achieved,” he added.
He noted that with the youth employment model in the state, the World Bank would partner with government and called on other states to emulate the Osun State scheme to make their teeming unemployed youths useful.
The six-man team toured about four council areas in the state, where they interacted with the corps members on their area of specialty and areas where the scheme needs improvement, which according to them, is to ensure its sustainability and durability.
In his assessment, Yasser El-Gammal observed that the scheme has the potential to be the best in the continent; adding that what the government is doing has endeared the financial institution to the state.
“The World Bank is here to assess what the state government is doing and complement its effort by improving and helping to expand the project, we are impressed with what we see and believe it is a laudable programme on the part of the government”, he added.
The leader of the state government team, Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Special Needs, Mr Stephen Kola Balogun stated that the state’s administration has not relented in its effort to give the youths of the state the best welfare programme, saying government is aware of the tremendous challenges ahead and would tackle them appropriately.