Humanitarian Affairs: Curbing poverty and unemployment

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Minister of Nigeria Humanitarian affairs Hajiya Umar Farouq

The National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) presently implemented by the government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), has saved Nigerian youths from the shackles of poverty and unemployment. 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 minister Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq to rescue Nigerians from the shackles of poverty.
Earlier in 2016, in fulfillment of his campaign promises to tackle poverty, the administration 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 NSIP, overseeing the numerous intervention programmes of the ministry with regards to tackling poverty, unemployment and insecurity through job creation.
NSIP houses the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), the Job-Creation Unit popularly known as N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Government Enterprises and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), among others, which are aimed at ensuring that Nigerians are lifted up from poverty.

The situation of poverty in Nigeria
In 2018, the World Poverty Clock (WPC), an online tool that monitors the progress against poverty globally and regionally and provides real-time poverty data across countries, declared Nigeria the poverty capital of the world, with more than 87 million people, out of over 200 million population said to be living in extreme poverty, overtaking India, which had 73 million people living in extreme poverty.
However, in an update in March 2022, considering the COVID-19 pandemic economic effect, WPC said that India has once again surpassed Nigeria as the nation with the highest number of extremely poor people.
According to its data, extremely poor people are those living on N800 per day with less than $2 per day. According to the new data, about 83 million Indians have been plunged into extreme poverty in 2022, representing six percent of the country’s population which stands at 1.3 billion.
For Nigeria, WPC said 70 million people are living in extreme poverty, representing 33 percent of Nigeria’s over 200 million people while in 2020, the National Bureau Of Statistics (NBS) said more than 80 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty (on a dollar per day).
For a country with over 200 million population, with more than 70 million people said to be poor (against 83 million people in India), graduate unemployment is commonplace, while school leavers and those unfortunate enough not to gain any form of western education have to make do with menial jobs to eke out a living in rural and urban areas.
Interestingly on May 27 2022, WPC said Nigeria has a population of over 214 million people (214, 598, 240), with 83,005, 482 people (representing 39% of the total population) living in extreme poverty, including 53% in rural areas, 9% in urban areas and also specifying that the affected class includes 39% females and  39% males in both urban and rural areas.
On the other hand, India with a population of over 1 billion people (1,406,156, 288) with 83,068, 597 people (representing 6% of the total population) living in extreme poverty, including 9% in rural areas, 0.8% in urban areas and also specifying that the affected class include 5% females and 7% males in both urban and rural areas.

N-Power programme
The N-Power programme, targeted at Nigerian youths, especially school leavers (non graduates) and school graduates between the ages of 18-35, ensures that beneficiaries earn N30, 000 (for graduates) or N10, 000 (for non graduates), a monthly stipend from the federal government until they are exited from the programme or secure permanent employments, thereby helping them to acquire and develop life-long skills that ensure they become solution providers and entrepreneurs in their communities.
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 that embodies the N-Tech Hardware, N-Tech Software and the N-Creative training programme.
However, recently, more segments have been embedded into the N-Power programme such as the N-Skills, which is for youth with no formal education, who would be trained in different vocational skills and trades. The Mobile Money Agents is also for the financial inclusion of this youth segment.Nevertheless, many N-Power beneficiaries, comprising Batch  A and Batch B, have been exited from the programme in order to make way for the commencement of the Batch C programme that is currently being implemented, with over 1.5million Nigerian youths empowered since the inception of the programme in batches A, B and Batch C. 
Being 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. 

More on N-Build
N-Build is the federal government’s direct intervention to build a highly competent and skilled workforce of technicians, artisans and service professionals through accelerated training and certification programs for 100,000 beneficiaries. In the effort to revive the economy, these blue-collar professionals are provided with the tool kits, safety gears, training consumables and sets to add value to their respective sectors.
To participate in the N-Build, all trainees must be aged between 18 and 35. Although it is a non-graduate programme, graduates too are usually accepted as the target is to lift Nigerians from of poverty. The pre-selected trainees are mandated to have at least a Senior Secondary  Examination Certificate. Also, to ensure that only unemployed individuals benefit from the programme, pre-selected trainees are usually required to declare their employment status.
Once active in the programme, the successful trainees are deployed to recognised organisations to perfect their trades. Outstanding trainees would secure full employment from this avenue, based on both attendance and conduct.
Each trainee is equipped with life-long skills, which as mentioned, would be imparted in them over a 9-month period (3 months in-centre training and 6 months apprenticeship with relevant industry employers for them to gain practical experience).Trainees are given tool kits to succeed in their chosen field of apprenticeship as an exit package at no cost and also provided with an N-Power Network Platform (NPVN) which digitally delivers developmental resources.

Industries/trades in N-Build
Building /construction services train those interested in electrical installation, plumbing and pipe-fitting, carpentry and joinery, masonry/tiling, among others.
However, Hospitality and Catering services train those interested in Mixology, Food and Beverages, House Keeping and Baking and Pastry.On the other hand, Automobile and Agric Tech Services train those interested in Auto Mechanics, Motor Vehicle Electrical and Electronic Technicians and Agric Tech.
To achieve the objectives of the training, the FMHADMSD has engaged different bodies for N-Build programmes.
In Building Construction, the FMHADMSD engaged the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON). In Automotive, FMHADMSD engaged the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC). In Hospitality, the FMHADMSD engaged Institute for Tourism Professionals (ITP) / National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).
The roles of the aforementioned councils include to execute implementation plan, serve as Master Trainer, train the trainer, oversight and monitoring and database registration.
Also, the FMHADMSD engaged a network of training providers, an aggregation of all standard training partners, be it public/private or employer institutions. Their key roles include: physical registration of N-Build beneficiaries, attitude (mindset), role as career guidance and linkage to apprenticeship, attendance and monthly assessments.
Furthermore, the FMHADMSD targets a network of relevant employers to provide the requisite training through their work-place training centres and also guarantee internship slots post-training so as to provide the trainees work-based apprenticeships, apart from monitoring and evaluation of the beneficiaries. Partners generally provide life skills and re-orientation training for the N-Build beneficiaries.

Experts’ advice
On April 20 while assessing the level of training acquired by the N-Power Batch C trainees, the acting provost, Kwara College of Education, Ilorin, Dr Jimoh Ayinla, charged participants of the N-Build to be resourceful by focusing on the opportunity given to them by the federal government to train themselves on skills acquisition.
Ayinla noted that the opportunity given to the participants was a rare gift, revealing that some students that graduated from the college had done a lot for themselves with the knowledge and few equipment they were trained with.
“It is an opportunity for the institution to host the training as the students would have more equipment to work with and gain more knowledge. The training has also made it possible for the Department of Technical Education to have all the necessary equipment for learning,” he said.
Also, the dean of Vocational and Technical Education, Dr Ezekiel Ayorinde, said the training was important and should be given priority for Nigerians to be self employed, while urging the participants to think of what they could achieve in vocational and technical training in order to stop seeking for white collar jobs but be employers of labour. He added that the training was an opportunity for the participants to learn without any payment.

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