Beneficiaries, facilitators beg FG for N-Power sustainability

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Minister of Nigeria Humanitarian affairs Hajiya Umar Farouq

As a result of the giant strides recorded by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, in actualising President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years, beneficiaries and facilitators of N-Power, which is one of the programmes under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) overseen by the ministry, have urged the federal government to ensure its sustainability; PAUL OKAH reports.

When the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) was created by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, the president gave marching orders to the pioneer minister, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, to rescue Nigerians from the shackles of poverty.

Earlier, in 2016, the President Buhari administration had created the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP), which was overseen by the office of the Vice President, until the creation of the FMHADMSD in 2019, which took over the NSIP, overseeing the numerous intervention programmes of the ministry, with regards to tackling poverty, unemployment and insecurity through job creation.

The N-Power programme, under NSIP, is targeted at the nation’s youth, especially school leavers (non graduates) and school graduates between the ages of 18-35 and ensures that beneficiaries earn N30, 000 (for graduates) or N10, 000 (for non graduates) monthly stipends from the federal government until they are exited from the programme or secure permanent employments.

From inception, N-Power had three core segments, including N-Power Volunteer Corps (for graduates), N-Power Build (for non-graduates) and N-Power Knowledge – which is also a non-graduate programme for ICT-inclined Nigerians and embodies the N-Tech Hardware, N-Tech Software and the N-Creative training programme.

As an all-inclusive programme, N-Power focuses primarily on unemployed Nigerian youths with the aim of developing their employability and entrepreneurship skills and capacity, which is geared towards making these youths, self-reliant and future employers of labour after going through the learn-work-entrepreneurship culture of the N-Power programme.

Beneficiaries’ commendations, desires

As a result of its relentless effort to tackle poverty, unemployment and other social vices, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, recently commenced a three-month training for more beneficiaries in N-Knowledge and N-Skills in the six geo-political zones of the country.

Many of the beneficiaries and facilitators, who spoke with our correspondent in Abuja, during a visit to monitor the on-going training for beneficiaries from the North-central zone at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN), Kubwa, said the achievements of the ministry should be sustained by the next administration; in order not to be eroded.

A beneficiary of N-Creative, Mr. Ngusha Elijah, who hails from Benue state, said he will venture into the entertainment industry after learning how to write scripts for TV production.

“Since resuming on 15th of February, I’ve learnt a lot on how to generate interesting story ideas, write stories and create contents that will interest the audience. The federal government has done its best to ensure that unemployed youths are empowered. If the federal government can sustain the N-Power programme, it will be highly appreciated.

“The N-Power program has helped a lot of people. There are some people out there who have never earned N30, 000 before, but the N-Power program has helped their lives. Even my younger sister is a beneficiary, so I can cite her as an example of how helpful the N-Power program has been to Nigerians and should be sustained. I will also urge the ministry to look into our feeding concerns. The feeding allowance should be increased. Many of us are given N1, 200 per day to feed, whereas a plate of food is N700 here,” he said.

Similarly, a beneficiary of N-Knowledge, Miss Abigail Thomas, who hails from Abia state, but resides in Abuja, said she would use knowledge from the training on software engineering to develop applications that will help in solving the problems of humanity.

She said, “I have been here since February. It has been an amazing experience as we were paid transportation fare to get here and we get paid N1, 200 for daily feeding. We have been taught Javascript, how to build websites and other programs. I’ve learnt some codes like HTML, CSS and even WordPress. I can’t thank the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs enough for this wonderful opportunity and will definitely implement what I’ve learnt at the end of the training.

“The resource persons have been great. We were hitherto taught with manuals, but the laptops have now arrived. I had background knowledge of software, but this training will help me improve. The N-Power programme is a great one. Many trainees never had knowledge of computers before coming here, but now know a lot.

“I want the government to continue with this programme because it takes a lot of people off the street. N- Power keeps youths occupied. There is a saying that the idle mind is the devil’s workshop. So, if you’re employed, you won’t have time for evil things. I will advise beneficiaries not to relent after the training. ICT is the main thing now, so beneficiaries should earn a living after the training.”

 Another beneficiary of N-Knowledge, Mr. Umar Ahmed Sarki, said the programme is of immense benefit to youths and should be continued.

“We get paid weekly for feeding. I have collected three distinct payments of N8, 400 per week. I am from Gombe state, but I reside here in Abuja. The teachers are very good. We initially had the problem of not getting laptops since getting here, but they arrived yesterday and will be disbursed shortly.

“We got a lot of knowledge in the theoretical part, but the practical is important, which is why we really need the laptops. We have a lot of testimonies to share. The N-Power program is a good one. We thank the government for empowering the youth with monthly stipends. We hope it will be sustained by the incoming administration,” he said.

Facilitators’ take

Speaking with Blueprint Weekend, a facilitator of N-Creative (script writing) and the CEO of Chroma Creative Consult, Mr. Marvelous Abutu, said the beneficiaries of the N-Power programme would learn a lot on self-empowerment using literary skills needed in the creative industry.

He said: “We started the N-Creative class by addressing habit formation. Habit is core in any skill one wants to acquire. We then moved on to the concept of script writing as part of the creative process. We then zeroed down to screenplay writing and requirements. We talked about character formation and presently on dialogue. 

“So far, the class has been good. We started officially on 10th of February. However, we haven’t gotten the full class we expected as many beneficiaries had different complaints not to turn up, including short notice, distance, among others. We are in week four of the training. Some even received N15, 000 transportation fare after coming to register and then disappeared. Nevertheless, the present participants are really encouraging. They’re learning a lot and open to the idea of making foray into the world of scriptwriting.

“Although those who registered and disappeared are discouraging, they cannot boast of the knowledge being acquired by those in the class. I will tell those in class not to underrate the knowledge they are getting. Those who are just resuming always get recap of what we have taught earlier on. We do that almost every week. At the end of the training, they will be given tools. So, there will be monitoring to ensure they are productive. They will be mentored. The business aspect of the training will be taught in week six.”

On his part, the programme manager of Software Training and CEO of Flash Computer and Communication, Mr. Temitope Folorunsho, said the knowledge acquired from the training on ICT would sustain the beneficiaries for the rest of their lives if they could apply them in their daily activities. According to him,  the programme will establish the foundation of knowledge, platform and tools upon which trainees can pursue careers as software development entrepreneurs.

Folorusho, who lauded the federal government for ensuring that they were accommodated in a decent environment to learn, said the N-Power Software training “is intended to educate and empower young people from disadvantaged communities using ICT.”

He said: “We teach them web design, graphics and basic ICT knowledge. My team and I like imparting knowledge to students. This is so that by tomorrow they can do even better than us. So, my expectation is that they should learn this as if their lives depend on it. They should also make use of it after the class. I want to see them flying in society.

 “Basically, the software training focuses mainly on web development, graphic design and basic IT skills. We were mobilised in December last year, while the students resumed officially on 10th of February. They were given one week to resume. So, we commenced the training officially on the 17th February and it has been going well so far.

“We have received the delivery of their laptops and we will be handing them over to the trainees officially and also connect them to the internet so that they will train better. I always counsel the students on the need to shift their mind-sets to attain their goals. Developing digital skills will allow them to feel more confident in using emerging technology and will make them faster in finishing tasks in their respective organisations. For example, IT skills will enable them to save money and time as they will be able to solve technical issues independently.”

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