Enugwu-Ukwu (Anambra), Oct. 12, 2023: Dr Claudia Okeke, Chief Executive Officer, Aids for Women, Adolescents and Children International (AWACIO), in collaboration with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has empowered 58 Anambra residents after their graduation.
Okeke said the trainees, who acquired skills on pastry and decoration, tailoring, cosmetics and saloon, barbing, phone repairs, commercial grinders and tiling, were drawn from seven communities in Anambra.
She said in Enugwu-Ukwu, Njikoka Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra, on Wednesday that AWACIO picked trainees from Anambra Central Senatorial district which includes: LGAs of Anaocha, Awka North, Awka South, Dunukofia, Njikoka, Idemili North and Idemili South.
Okeke said the programme was to fight poverty and joblessness while empowering the youth to be self reliant and become employers of labour as well.
“This year, AWACIO, a non-governmental organization, embarked on the journey to bring skills acquisition programme to Anambra State, particularly in Anambra Central, where over 80 interested men, women and youth were gathered.
“Based on our eligibility criteria, the number was reduced to 70. Following our preliminary training and investigation, the number was further reduced to 58 for a total of seven different skills.
“The 58 consists of 50 active trainees and eight standby trainees who have been vigorously trained in one of those skills for six weeks. Some skills like tailoring will proceed for even a longer period.
Okeke said that beneficiaries were presented with certificates and starter kits which included barbing kits, cosmetic kits, sewing machines, bakery ovens, tiling gears, commercial grinders, and phone repair gears, to enable them forge ahead in the society with their newly-acquired skills.
According to her, AWACIO would monitor the progress of all the graduates to ensure they utilise their skills to create impact economically within and outside Anambra State.
“We foresee a shift in economic power as each trainee begins to make a difference, and is able to train others, spread the wealth, and alleviate poverty,” she added.
She disclosed that AWACIO aims to be a national body and was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission in January 2011.
Okeke said that the body engages in aids, projects and programmes that are beneficial to women, adolescents and children.
Okeke said AWACIO’s mission is to advance the hope of women, youths, adolescents to a better livelihood through educational activities, empowerment and capacity-building programmes, good economic sustaining opportunities, disease prevention and more programmes.
She said that AWACIO attains its goal by partnering with organisations, communities and individuals to conduct skills acquisition training, health workshops and other educational events in communities.
“AWACIO has conducted a series of Empowerment activities since 2013, such as empowerment of widows with Total Energies in Bwari, and youth with Total upstream in Kwali.
In 2014, there will be empowerment programmes in Gwagwalada, Abuja, Niger State, and Gombe, amongst other places,” she said.
Contributing, Central Bank of Nigeria, through a Director in the Governor’s office who spoke under anonymity, said they partnered the NGO because the programme was in line with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The Director said that the projects centre on capacity building of people, providing essential training and fostering skills acquisition, thereby empowering beneficiaries.
They also are generating employment opportunities for the unemployed and reducing the level of unemployment in the country through their programmes.
He said that AWACIO had collaborated with the CBN for similar programmes in years past and had achieved good result that sustained the trust of the bank in partnering with the body for its good work.
“We are hopeful this programme will not be an exception in the eradication of poverty, improvement of well-being of the beneficiaries and a reasonable impact on the citizens to reduce hardship amongst the people.
“We are particularly excited to be part of this project at this time and congratulate the beneficiaries and hope that they will not betray the confidence reposed on them,” he said.
Ms Chiamaka Nnake, the state Commissioner for Budget and Economic planning, commended AWACIO for taking 50 unemployed youths in the state through training and empowering them to start off in their chosen skills learning.
Nnake said that the empowerment done by AWACIO is in line with Gov. Charles Soludo’s mandate to reduce and produce a labour force that is productive and marketable abroad.
Mrs Chioma Ezechukwu, Deputy Director, Planning, in the Ministry of Budget and Economic planning, who represented the commissioner, urged the leader of the NGO to partner more with the state.
Chief Chido Obidiegwu, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Anambra Broadcasting Station, urged the beneficiaries of the programme not to take the efforts for granted.
He advised participants in the programme to ensure they enhanced their lives through the skills they have learnt, since they have been empowered to handle their economic needs .
Obidiegwu, was represented by Mrs Judy Nwabueze, Acting Director of News and Current Affairs in the state broadcasting station.
She said that the group has acted in line with the Think Home Philosophy of Anambra government and urged other wealthy people from the state to emulate Okeke’s footprint.
Mr Chinaecherem Igbonau, trainer on phone repairs, said he trained four persons and was happy to see them receive their starter packs to immediately commence work.
“I am happy that I was given an opportunity to share my skills acquisition by imparting the knowledge to some other people.
“I assured the team that I will monitor the boys as they start their work so my effort will not be in vain,” he said.
Mrs Chinyere Okeke, a field worker for the team, said that the people who graduated really put in a lot of interest and commitment into their training and it has paid off for them.
Okeke said that AWACIO should not relent on the good job they have started as it will reduce the zeal to leave the rural community to urban cities knowing that help could locate them down in the village.
Earlier, the Traditional Ruler of Enugwu-Ukwu, Igwe Ralph Ekpeh, represented by the village Chairman, Mr Fabian Akpagu, thanked AWACIO for initiating the project, which according to him, would uplift the community, and urged them to sustain the tempo.