In the month of December 2018, 100 unemployed youths across the 8 communities of AFIJIO local government area in Oyo State were enrolled into an empowerment program that was run by the 7Eleven Foundation, and the singular aim was to not only to give them a source of income but to start a chain reaction of job creation in the zone.
In just 6 months, a dossier of data detailing the progress of beneficiaries from the “Ejekaseyi” empowerment programme shows that over 50 per cent among them now run thriving businesses, making up to ₦60,000 every month. But the most striking part is the fact that these beneficiaries are set to re-empower other unemployed youths in their respective communities.\
The impactful outcome of this empowerment programme as stated above has been widely touted as a readied template to be deployed by other facilitators in other zones in the state and across the country.
Buoyed by the need to do things differently and achieve an unusual result, the facilitator of the empowerment programme, Seyi Adisa, a politician and former All Progressives Congress APC House of Assembly candidate for Afijio, was quoted saying that the idea of the Ejekaseyi Jobs was birthed from his team’s mantra of running a campaign of substance as against a campaign of merely-mouthed political promises.
He explained; “When you look round Afijio at that time we started, what you’d observe, just like you will in some other parts of the country, is a pool of youths not getting productive with their time and energy mostly because of the lack of opportunities to thrive. We saw a situation of youth unemployment tethered to the lack of opportunities”
“But then, we also noticed that this situation has been persistent despite supposed empowerment programmes that have been brought to these youths. At that point, we were tasked with the question – What could be missing? Why are these pools of youths unproductive and unemployed despite a handful of opportunities they’ve been exposed to by successive empowerment programmes in the past?”
“Well, we discovered three major gaps which were – a lack of financial and business management skills, a lack of mentoring and also a lack of supervision. And, these are the components we decided to add to our style of empowerment, much more like wholesome human capital development.”
“Our team accepted the fact that it will take more than arming these youths with vocational skills to make them gainfully empowered first and also so well enough to re-empower others. Tasking as it looked, still, it didn’t rocket science”.
Seyi Adisa’s team partnered with the 7eleven Foundation, a non-profit known for empowering entrepreneurs with life skills right from incubation to activation, to train these 100 selected youths in 5 different crafts namely catering, tie and dye, printmaking and painting, shoe-making, and fish and snail farming.
A week-long intensive training of this lot involved masterclass from different professionals, who took the beneficiaries through practical layers of financial and business management. Together with the tools given to each of them after this training in form of their take-off support, they have been undergoing continued mentoring and supervision in these 6 months, a process which will go on for another 6 months.
These successes recorded so far with the EJEKASEYI JOBS aren’t unconnected to this unusual process of empowerment detailed above. It is clearly a story of pure desire to get youths off the streets, which then gave birth to a thorough and exemplary solution that seems to last.
In Afijio today, the graduands from that programme are not only gainfully employed but are indeed creating employment themselves. They are the success stories of this unusual incubation-to-activation style of empowerment.
There is the story of Olabiyi Tolulope and Akano Mary, who are beneficiaries from Ilora town of Afijio Local Government Area, have grown productively with the skill they learnt during the one-week intensive vocational training. They both learnt catering and had in the last six months made several moves among which are: supplying snacks to private schools, doing home and office deliveries, as well as rendering catering customized services to grow their business.
The story of Oladejo Veronica is a single mother from Fiditi town is particularly more intriguing. She also learnt the craft of catering and in the last six months, she hasn’t only established a living, she has also been able to scale up the business with the purchase of an additional 6kg Gas cylinder. That’s how successful the knowledge they were impacted with, works. According to her books, she makes an average of N2100 daily profit from the business, from which she’s been able to enrol her child into school, as well as greatly improve her standard of living.
If this data coming from the Afijio 100 is to be believed, beneficiaries who trained in the tie and dye craft are now “busy merchants”, as they are now the go-to people for both day-to-day and ceremonial clothes in the entire Oyo area, at the famous central Iware market, and as far as Ibadan, the state capital.
For Oguntokun Samson, Ojediran Remi and Salisu Ali, they have successfully given “birth”. This trio benefited from the vocational training, learning shoemaking, tie and dye, and paint production respectively. In the last six months, Oguntokun, Ojediran and Salisu have been able to court one (1) apprentice each under their wings, channelling the training into them and setting another three erstwhile unemployed individuals on their way to becoming gainfully empowered too.
Exploring the rave behind these testimonies of Ejekaseyi jobs is just very timely, as it will not be untrue to now admit that, if it works in Afijio and for Afijio youths, it will definitely work anywhere else where there is a lingering situation of unemployment amongst our energetic youths.
Furthermore, it is quite clear that this veritable and mentor-friendly empowerment idea behind Ejekaseyi jobs is steadily proving to be a potent antibiotic against the infection of unemployment, as far as the youth is concerned, and you wouldn’t be wrong if you’re unable to resist the temptation to give deserved kudos to Seyi Adisa and his team.