By Peter Okutu
A Non-governmental organisation, Golden Heart Foundation, which is into human capital development, Tuesday said it has concluded arrangement to provide jobs and other forms of empowerment for Ebonyi indigenes and others residing in the State.
This arrangement, according to the NGO would redirect the minds of youths away from crimes and make them become entrepreneurs and self-reliant.
Speaking during the Grand Finale of a 3-Day Mentorship Master Class, with the theme, “Ebonyi Youths Project”, at the International Conference Centre, ICC, Abakaliki, one of the facilitators of the event and Chairman, African Union 6th Region, Dr Macaulay Kalu argued that if the potentiality of the 65 per cent of the African population being youths of 35 years were harnessed and deployed into meaningful ventures, the issue of unemployment ravaging the African continent would be a thing of the past.
According to him, “1n 2019, the African Union launched an initiative after a lot of assessment consultations concerning the challenges of the region. The population of the Continent of Africa is more of youths. We have 65 per cent of the population under 35 years. That makes Africa the most populated Continent in terms of youths. That’s what we call an asset (Human Capital Asset).
“Well, one of the assignments I have from what the African Union launched, is to create one million jobs by 2021. It’s called 1million Jobs 2021-Initiative, and so if the Ebonyi State and Nigeria present us a level-playing field, that one million jobs could be created in the country. The country is big enough for one million jobs. The level of insecurity we witness in the country now is because of unemployment. So, if we can get our youths engaged in doing something worthwhile and provide a support system for them, there would be little or no insecurity in the land.
“With that, the Continent, through the African Union Commission has been doing a lot to see what it can do in solving this unemployment situation among the youths.
“I was opportune as a Nigerian myself, having the privilege of connecting the Diaspora community with what is going on in the Continent because a lot of our young people are really going through a lot. A point in question is how so many of them are crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, through Panama to the US and this has been deadly. It calls for so much attention around the world.
“Having said this, with infrastructure on the ground in Ebonyi State, we just need to balance it up with human capital development and then put a support system, that will make all this work well.”
In his remarks, the State Coordinator, Ebonyi Golden Heart Foundation, Mr Chukwudi Abana, said the Masterclass was geared towards creating a jobs through human capital development, training and mentorship of Ebonyi youths.
“The mentorship masterclass for this year has in attendance entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, business people, civil servants and students from the entire 13 local government area of the state with a minimum of 12 participants selected from each local government area.
“This Masterclass has created a mind shift, exposing global opportunities that exist and how Ebonyi indigenes can cash into them.
“Golden Heart Foundation has been in the forefront of national transformation and human capital development especially amongst the youth in Nigeria and Africa, for the past 15 years.”
One of the participants, Mrs Laura Amanze appreciated the opportunity of being part of the training and empowerment exercise in the State.
She noted: “Am a participant in the programme that the Holden Heart Foundation is organising in partnership with the AU; that’s the training and mentorship of Ebonyi youths, women and men inclusive. The goal of the programme is the mentorship of young vibrant youths to make sure that after the mentorship, they will be empowered
“So, it is not the usual training of just give people money. We have been for the past three days and there are still more phases to come. It will address certain anomalies in society in many ways. People have this notion that all they need is money to succeed in life without having a laid down plan as to if you are given money and how you are going to utilise it.
“So there is this paradigm shift in the minds of youths. The idea is not money first but human capital development. Money should be answerable to you and not you answerable to money.”