Unlocking Empowerment Opportunities for Youth in Nigeria

Girl holding Sandals she made

During this training, I learnt how to make shoes, and I have made two pairs of shoes, I am currently wearing one and I sold the other one for N3000, which is my first profit ever, I am really excited, I couldn’t have made it without KIR Foundation, I thank everybody that supports KIR Foundation.
The above statement by Favour Nnachi, a 16 years old SS1 student who was among the 18 youth that participated in the KIR Foundation Teenage Easter Empowerment Programme, shows that there are many untapped potentials in young people and there is a need to unlock these potentials.

The KIR Foundation Teenage Easter Empowerment Programme (TEEP) commenced on Monday the 1st of April and ended on the 18th of April. The participants were trained in the following skills; Shoe making, Soap making, Sign Language, Making Skincare Products, Basic ICT. The facilitators were; Osaghe Osamuyi for Shoe making, Imoh Etim for Sign Language, Rebecca Asemokhe for Soap Making, Violet Maxwell- Benson for skincare Products and Mina Tamunowari for Basic ICT.
Footwears made at HEP 2019
The relevance of vocational training in our developing economy cannot be overemphasized, this is because Nigeria ranked 152 of 157 countries in the World Bank’s 2018 Human Capital Index due to Under Investment. Furthermore, the country continues to face massive developmental challenges, which include the need to reduce the dependency on oil and diversify the economy.

According to the World Bank Report, Nigeria with a population of approximately 197 million, accounts for about 47% of West Africa’s population, and has one of the largest populations of youth in the world.

Some of the KIR Foundation TEEP youth beneficiaries are disadvantaged youth who want to attend tertiary institutions, but are held back by lack of funding. Through our skills acquisition projects, these youths are equipped with relevant skills that are consistent with the needs of the labour market. Thus, enabling our beneficiaries to get employment or become self-employed so that they can afford good education and help develop the society.
Favour holding Sandals

Jennifer Chinedu, one of the participants said “The high rate of unemployed graduates I see in the society motivated me to join the Teenage Easter Empowerment programme, I want to learn skills to empower myself so I can be self-employed. I thank KIR Foundation for making it possible for me to learn these skills".

The Journey so far: Last Week, Today

At KIR Foundation, we had several activities going on that educate the minds of the young people that visit our Resource and Rehabilitation center. These activities are aimed at increasing the learnability curve in our society and prepare young people to take advantage of the available opportunities in the society. These activities include:

During the Easter Empowerment Program, the trainees were taught Basic Sign Language, ICT (Microsoft office suite and Basic Coding) and how to make organic skin care product. They were also introduced to shoemaking.
Shoe making class

The KIR Foundation community library contains resourceful books for Children, Teenagers, and Adults. The library is open to the public and free for use from Monday to Friday by 10am. We also give our beneficiaries preparing to take the computer-based JAMB exams the opportunity to practice using our computers for free. Also, every Friday by 2:30pm – 3:30pm the center hosts a youth hub called Thank God Its Inspirational Friday (TGIIF) which offers mentorship and self-development opportunities with a blend of extracurricular activities to young people.

We do not only engage our beneficiaries with books, but we develop their learning and critical thinking skills through intellectual games such as Chess, Monopoly, Scrabble and Game of Life. Aside from Games Club we also have a "Coding Club" where teenagers are taught basic coding for app develpment, webiste design and game develpment.
Coding club

TGIIF Youth Hub: Mentorship Friday

TGIIF Youth hub - Mentorship friday

Today's TGIIF was another refreshing moment. We had what we call a "Mentorship Friday" today, where the dreams and aspirations of TGIIF youths were explored.
Anchor - Mentorship Friday

First of all, we watched a video on how to have good drreams and how to follow them. After the video, the TGIIF youths (participants) gave different ways in which one can put one's dream to work.

One of the participants, Kevin Diri, said "You have to brainstorm ideas, create a strategic plan and stick with it."

We watched another video explaining, the five things stopping one from achieving one's dreams, which includes;

  1. Our Pasts
  2. Limited Beliefs
  3. Other People's Opinions
  4. Relationships and
  5. Money
The TGIIF youths also added to the list; Regrets (Which seemed like "Pasts") and Procrastination (The giant killer).

Vocational Rehabilitation: A path to inclusion

Vocational rehabilitation
How do I make the world better for persons with disabilities? one may ask. People with disabilities need skills to engage in livelihood activities, but they start with a number of disadvantages. Their families and communities may assume that they are unable to engage in such activities. They often lack access to basic education, making them unqualified to join skills training courses. These disadvantages frequently result in a lack of skills, as well as low confidence, expectations and achievement.

One major way of integrating persons with disabilities into society is through VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION.

Wikipedia defines vocational rehabilitation as a process which enables persons with functional, psychological, developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities or impairments or health disabilities to overcome barriers to accessing, maintaining, or returning to employment or other useful occupation.

The term "Vocational Rehabilitation" means that part of the continuous and coordinated process of rehabilitation which involves the provision of those vocational services, e. g. vocational guidance, vocational training and selective placement, designed to enable a disabled person to secure and retain suitable employment.

Blind Children smiling
Vocational Rehabilitation involves job training and placement. It can help persons with disabilities acquire the different types of skills required for successful work. These skills include foundation skills acquired through education and family life, technical and professional skills which enable a person to undertake a particular activity or task, business skills required to succeed in self-employment and core life skills, including attitudes, knowledge and personal attributes.

Vocational rehabilitation can enable people with disabilities access work opportunities, by actively promoting and facilitating the acquisition of relevant knowledge, skills and attitude. It also gives persons with disabilities an opportunity to be integrated into the working world.