The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on Thursday in Abuja, inaugurated the maiden edition of the Director-General’s Community Development Service (CDS) award.
The Director-General of NYSC, Brig. Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, at the inauguration of the CDS activities for 2021, said that it was to revive the commitment of youth corps members to the scheme.
Ibrahim said that “the idea behind the award is to spur corps members and CDS officers to wake up from their slumber and realise that CDS is no longer business as usual.”
He noted that the CDS was one of the cardinal programmes of the scheme that served as a platform for creative thinking towards technological development.
He said that the CDS also brought to fore youth corps members resourcefulness, productivity, and appreciation of cross-cultural similarities and differences.
The director-general added that the activity helped develop corps members, patriotism, good interpersonal relationship, leadership skills, team spirit, endurance, selflessness amongst other virtues.
He, however, noted sadly that in recent years, CDS activities had continued to dwindle due to poor incentives for youth corps members that executed projects and lack of support from community leaders.
Ibrahim added that inadequate financial and material resources, technical challenges as well as the recent COVID-19 pandemic also impeded the conduct of CDS activities.
“In our determination to revive the activities and address its challenges, we decided to reorganise and initiate the annual launch of the CDS activities and making the programme more goals-oriented.
“Our efforts to re-invigorate the CDS means to bring the conduct of its activities in tandem with global best practices,’’ Ibrahim said.
Alhaji Abdulrazak Salawu, Director, CDS and Special Project, said that over time the exercise had proven to be a catalyst for national development.
Salawu said that the active involvement of corps members in community development projects in all nooks and crannies of the country had contributed significantly to different developments across the nation.
He noted that the Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) introduced in 2014 was one of the notable CDS programmes of the scheme aimed at medical outreaches, especially in remote locations.
“The CDS programme embodies economic, political, and socio-cultural objectives of the scheme that include improving life in the rural communities and motivating the people towards self-help projects for greater self-reliance, thereby reducing over-dependence on government.
“Instilling in corps members the tradition and customs of the host communities and consequently enabling them to appreciate and promote our unity in diversity amongst others,’’ Salawu added.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Mohammed Bello, commended the scheme for organising the progamme.
The minister was represented by the Secretary of FCT Social Development Secretariat, Mr Kelvin Ike.
Bello added that the scheme conjured the most fertile ground for more impactful landmarks in the development of our local communities nationwide via CDS programmes.
He assured the director-general that the FCTA held special consideration for handiwork, outstanding performance and personal contribution of corps members to their host communities.
The award was presented to different categories which include NYSC films, NYSC National Cultural Troupe, Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD), NYSC Sports and Cultural Festival, NYSC HIV/AIDS programme, Traditional (Group) CDS, Personal CDS and collaborative CDS.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the best group CDS award was bagged by the Adamawa Gender Vanguard and Charity CDS group.
The best individual CDS award went to Oduma Fidelis Mbam, a graduate of dental technology a native of Ebonyi, who served in Adamawa.
The best collaborative CDS partner award went to UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the best CDS officers’ award went to Mrs Rita Alo from ENGINE, Gender Vanguard, and Charity CDS group in FCT.